Prime Minister Narendra Modi has warned India’s top pharmaceutical companies to strictly adhere to marketing ethics, and not to bribe doctors with women, foreign trips and gadgets, ThePrint has learnt.

Government sources said PM Modi met senior officials from top drug-makers, including Zydus Cadila, Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Wockhardt, in New Delhi on 2 January.

“The issue of unethical use of marketing tactics has been escalated to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) which, in turn, made calls to some top drug-makers and fixed a meeting with the PM,” said a senior government official who attended the meeting.

“The PM told drug-makers that their non-compliance with marketing practices is pushing the government to create a strict law. He has warned about bringing in a statutory provision, and indicated that the ministry (of chemicals and fertilisers) has been asked to start working on it,” the official said.

Top executives such as Pankaj Patel of Zydus Cadila, Sudhir Mehta of Torrent and Habil Khorakiwala from Wockhardt were in attendance, apart from the leadership team of Apollo Hospitals, sources said.

There was no response to emails and text messages sent to Patel, Mehta, Wockhardt and Apollo Hospitals until the time of publishing this report.

ThePrint also reached the PMO through calls and text messages for a comment but there was no response.