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Did PM Modi Warn Pharmaceutical Companies Not To Bribe Doctors With Women, Foreign Trips And Gadgets?

An ‘alleged’ remark by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created outrage among doctors in India. A claim is going viral on social media in which it is alleged that the Prime Minister himself made these remarks.

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Claim

PM Modi said pharmaceutical companies bribe doctors with women.

Is it believable that a PM could use such foul language? Yes PM Modi did.

Verification

An ‘alleged’ remark by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created outrage among doctors in India. A claim is going viral on social media in which it is alleged that the Prime Minister himself made these remarks.

Twitter user Shahrukh Siddiqui who addresses himself as a Hindi Poet shared this claim which was further retweeted by Bollywood Director, Producer, Writer, Editor and Actor Anurag Kashyap.

As we began to fact check this claim we first checked if there is any media report on the issue. After performing a Google search, we found several media reports.

For instance, the BBC story on the issue suggests that the PM indeed made the ‘alleged’ remark and following that, The Indian Medical Association has issued a letter demanding Prime Minister’s clarification on the issue or an apology. As per the BBC report, “The Prime Minister has made ‘alleged’ remarks in a meeting with top Indian Pharmaceuticals companies in the first week of January this year.

 

पीएम मोदी के ‘बयान’ पर IMA ने जताई आपत्ति, कहा- साबित करें या माफ़ी मांगें

इंडियन मेडिकल एसोसिएशन (आईएमए) ने प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी के एक कथित बयान पर कड़ी आपत्ति जताई है और मांग की है कि प्रधानमंत्री या तो आरोपों से इनकार करें, साबित करें या माफ़ी मांगें.

We found various media reports that backed the BBC report. 

“Prove, deny or apologise” IMA asks PM Modi on statement that doctors are bribed by pharma companies

Taking strong exception to the alleged statement by the prime minister the IMA has asked the PMO to clarify if such a meeting took place or if such a statement was made by the prime minister.

“Prove, deny or apologise” IMA asks PM Modi on statement that doctors are bribed by pharma companies

Taking strong exception to the alleged statement by the prime minister the IMA has asked the PMO to clarify if such a meeting took place or if such a statement was made by the prime minister.

PM must prove his charge or apologise: IMA

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deny or prove his alleged statement that top pharmaceutical companies bribed doctors with women escorts. The country’s largest doctors body demanded that the PM should apologise if he fails to do so.

PM, ‘prove or apologise’

The Indian Medical Association, the country’s largest body of doctors, on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “prove, deny, or apologise (for)” a purported statement attributed to him asking pharmaceutical companies not to bribe doctors with foreign trips, gadgets and women.

PM मोदी के लड़कियां उपलब्ध वाले बयान पर IMA ने जताई आपत्ति, कहा- माफी मांगे प्रधानमंत्री

इंडियन मेडिकल एसोसिएशन (आईएमए) ने प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी के एक कथित बयान पर आपत्ति जताई है। साथ ही उनसे कहा है कि या तो वह अपने आरोप से इनकार करें, या साबित करें या माफी मांगें। आईएमए ने विज्ञप्ति जारी कर कहा है कि मीडिया रिपोट्र्स…

IMA seeks PM apology for bribe remark

Indian Medical Association (IMA), highest non-political platform of registered doctors across the country, slammed the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi demanding apology for allegedly making statements that top pharmaceutical companies bribe doctors with women, gadgets and foreign trips. IMA has also demanded the PM to prove the charges he levelled against the medical fraternity.

‘Prove Or Apologize’: IMA Writes To PM Modi On His Comment Of Pharma Firms Bribing Doctors With Women

The national organization for the doctors in the country, Indian Medical Association (IMA), in a letter, has sought clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his statement that pharmaceutical companies are engaging in unethical marketing practices and allegedly bribing doctors with women, gadgets or foreign tours.

However, we found a report published by Livemint which suggests that the ‘alleged’ remark made by the Prime Minister was first reported by The Print.

IMA seeks clarification over PM Modi’s alleged statement on pharma companies

“IMA takes strong exception to the statement if it has been really made by the Prime Minister. IMA seeks clarification from the office of the Prime Minister if such a meeting ever happened and if so the statement is authentic.

Then we searched for the report published by The Print. The report published by The Print states, “The Indian Medical Association has written to the Prime Minister seeking clarification if the government is planning to take action against pharmaceutical companies that are allegedly bribing doctors and breaching ethical marketing practices.”

‘Prove or apologise’ – IMA writes to PM Modi on pharma firms bribing doctors with women

New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association, the apex lobby of 3.5 lakh doctors in the country, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking clarification if the government is planning to take action against pharmaceutical companies that are allegedly bribing doctors and breaching ethical marketing practices.

We found one more report on the issue by the same outlet by clicking on a hyperlink in the aforementioned report. The hyperlinked report informs that the Prime Minister has warned the pharmaceutical companies not to bribe doctors with women, foreign trips and gadgets. The report mentions a statement from a govt official who is quoted as saying, “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”. The govt official further informs The Print that The PM had told the drug-makers that their non-compliance with marketing practices is pushing the government to create a strict law. He had warned about bringing in a statutory provision and indicated that the ministry (of chemicals and fertilizers) had been asked to start working on it. 

PM Modi warns pharma companies not to bribe doctors with women, foreign trips and gadgets

New Delhi: 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 Print, however, in the aforementioned article has mentioned the cause behind this outrage. The Print has hyperlinked a report which clarifies the issue in detail.

Govt warns pharma firms after report says doctors bribed with women, foreign trips, gadgets

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has warned drugmakers to strictly adhere to rules while marketing medicines and medical devices, after a report revealed glaring instances of pharma companies bribing doctors, ThePrint has learnt. The report, published by NGO Support for Advocacy and Training to Health (SATHI), suggested that medical representatives bribe doctors with foreign trips, expensive smartphones and even women.

As we began to read the report published by The Print, we found that The Print has mentioned a report submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office by an NGO named ‘Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives (SATHI). A copy of the aforesaid report can be viewed here

The ‘about’ section on SATHI’s website informs that they are an action-center of Anusandhan Trust.

The 72-page report submitted by the said NGO talks about the irregularities in the healthcare industry. The report on page number 12 further states that the doctors are pampered with gifts, women for entertainment and foreign trips.

As it can be seen in our fact check above that the Prime Minister didn’t make the ‘alleged’ remark but the NGO which submitted the report to the PMO.

We also found a series of tweets by news agency ANI in which the Indian Pharmaceuticals Association has denied any such discussion in the meeting that took place on 1 January 2020. The ANI tweet, “Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance: Prime Minister had convened a meeting with the healthcare industry on 1 Jan. It was attended by industry leaders including Satish Reddy (Dr. Reddy’s), Ajay Piramal (PiramalGroup), Dilip Shanghvi (Sun Pharma), Dr. Habil Khorakiwala (Wockhardt) & others. There was no discussion on alleged bribes being given by pharma companies to doctors as being reported in the media. The meeting was a constructive one where the discussion was limited to initiatives to boost industry. News reports to the contrary are baseless.” 

We also found a report published in BloombergQuint which further backs the ANI report and rubbishes the claims made by various media outlets and individuals.

No Discussion On Uniform Code For Pharmaceutical Marketing Yet: IPA

Industry body Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance on Wednesday said there was no discussion on uniform code for pharmaceutical marketing practice in the meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the healthcare industry on Jan. 1. The meeting was called to discuss future roadmap for growth of the healthcare industry, the IPA said in a statement.

The claim made by BBC, Anurag Kashyap, The Print, National Herald, The Telegraph and The Statesman turned out to be ‘Misleading’

As it is evident from our fact check above, the claim made by various media and news outlets and individuals including Filmmaker, writer, actor, and producer Anurag Kashyap is misleading.

Sources

  • Google Search
  • Twitter Advanced Search
  • Media Reports

Result: Misleading 

(If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form)

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English

Did Qatar cancel all Air India flights under Vande Bharat Mission? No, it’s a false claim

An image which states that Qatar cancelled all Air India flights under Vande Bharat Mission is false.

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Claim

An image we received on our Whatsapp verification number claims “Qatar cancelled all Air India Flights Under Vande Bharat Mission.” See the image below. 

Factcheck

The above image also claims that earlier Air India got exemptions from their airport charges on account of Vande Bharat being an evacuation mission. Later, on realising that passengers paid 700 riyals for these tickets, they cancelled all the flights. 

We found similar messages being circulated on Facebook and Twitter, examples below. 

What an image we build !!

Người đăng: Shrikant Prabhu vào Thứ Sáu, 15 tháng 5, 2020

You can view another example here

Through a keyword search we came across a clarification on the official Twitter page of the Embassy of India Doha, Qatar. It denied the rumour by stating that a flight was cancelled due to technical reasons. And is being rescheduled for 12 May. 

A subsequent tweet on 11 May by the Embassy of India, Doha expressed that a few media channels were making a baseless claim about flight IX-374 from Doha to Thiruvananthapuram was cancelled because of differences over landing and handling charges. None of it is true. 

Conclusion

We found the claim in the image which states that Qatar cancelled all Air India flights under Vande Bharat Mission to be false. 

Tools Used

  • Google search
  • Twitter advanced search 

Result: False 

(If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form)

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Coronavirus

Photograph Taken in 1985 Shared on Social Media in the Backdrop of COVID-19 Pandemic

A photograph is being widely shared on social media, which shows a woman holding a child in her hands, claiming that this picture was taken before the mother succumbed to the novel coronavirus in Italy.

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A Facebook user shared a photograph of a woman holding a child her in her hands claiming that this picture was taken before the mother succumbed to the novel coronavirus in Italy.

बेटे से माँ की जुदाई…है भगवान हर माँ की रक्षा करों !इटली की महिला कोरोना की तीसरी और आखरी स्टेज में थी सामने उनका 18…

Người đăng: Subham Chouhan Lalla Bhaiya vào Thứ Ba, 21 tháng 4, 2020

The caption of the viral image, when translated to English, reads, ‘Such a disheartening incident. Female Corona patient in Italy was in the third stage and her 18-month-old child was crying a lot. The patient expressed her last wish that she wanted to hug her child once. The doctors covered her entire body, and as she holds the child, the child stopped crying, but the mother succumbed to the coronavirus.’

We found that the photograph was being shared on Facebook and Twitter with identical claims.

Several readers sent the viral pictures to Newschecker’s WhatsApp helpline number for verification.

Fact Check

With the help of reverse image search, we found the same image in Magnum Photos. The image viral on social media was clicked in 1985 at a cancer treatment centre in Seattle, USA by photojournalist Burt Glinn, before the baby’s bone marrow transplant and has no connection with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The caption of the image reads, “USA, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 1985. Fred Hutchinson CancerCenter- Infant inside Laminar AirFlow Room protection from infection. The child has been irradiated prior to marrow transplant.”

We also found that the original photograph clicked by Burt Glinn is vertical, and one can see the mother in a standing position with her hands and face inserted into the laminar airflow box, whereas the image viral on social media is in a horizontal position. You can see the comparison here:

Conclusion

It is clear from our fact check that the photograph viral on social media, which shows a woman holding a child in her hands, is neither from Italy nor does it has any connection with coronavirus pandemic. The image was taken in 1985 at a cancer treatment center in Seattle, USA, by photojournalist Burt Glinn before the baby’s bone marrow transplant.

Sources

  • Google Reverse Image Search
  • Google Search

Result: Misleading

(If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form)

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Patients Are Not Being Segregated On The Basis Of Religion; Media Outlets Falsely Report

Since the government has denied the allegations of segregation of COVID-19 patients on the basis of religion and the doctor whom the outlets claim to have spoken, alleges

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News outlets such as The Hindu, The New Indian Express, and others claimed that the COVID-19 patients in Gujarat are being segregated on the basis of religion at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. The reports published by media outlets were further amplified by several verified and prominent Twitter handles.

Fact Check

As it is rightly said, the world is fighting a pandemic and an ‘Infodemic’, Indian media is justifying the statement in its truest sense. In the past few days, cases of misreporting by media outlets have seen a spike, besides a strict warning by the Supreme Court. Indian media was recently criticized for the religious profiling of COVID-19 cases in India but even that could not stop the media from reporting COVID-19 cases on the basis of the religion. 

The latest outlet to join the communal cacophony of Indian media is ‘The Hindu’ which is otherwise known for its quality journalism. The paper tried to undo the damage though by removing the ‘Hindu/Muslim’ words from its report after realizing they had misreported on the matter. 

The Hindu on 15th April carried a report titled ‘COVID-19 patients segregated on the basis of religion at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, according to reports’. The report carried by ‘The Hindu’ is based on the alleged segregation of COVID-19 patients at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. The report was later updated and certain changes were made to the report. 

Here’s what was in the initial report and what all changes were made to the report.

Note: ‘Red’ color stands for words removed in the updated report and ‘Green’ color for words added.

An archived version of the first updates report can be found here.

An archived version of the updated report can be found here.

Interestingly, the aforementioned ‘The Hindu’ report was updated within a few minutes after publishing. The original version of the above-mentioned report is not available on the web and it is nowhere specified in the report what was updated and when.

Another news outlet The Indian Express, which has a history of publishing reports through unverified sources, made the same claim as that by ‘The Hindu’.

An archived version of the first updated version of The Indian Express report can be found here.

The latest version of The Indian Express report can be found here.

The Indian Express in its report claims to have spoken to the Medical Superintendent of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital namely ‘Dr. Gunvant H Rathod’. The report further claims that Dr. Rathod told the publication, “Generally, there are separate wards for male and female patients. But here, we have made separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients. (On being asked about the reason Dr. Rathod said) It is a decision of the government and you can ask them.”

The aforementioned report further claims that there are almost 150 COVID patients in the hospital, out of which, at least 40 belong to the Muslim community.

The report published by The Indian Express was further amplified by many prominent journalists and politicians such as Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi, TMC MP Mohua Mitra, India Today Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and his journalist wife Sagarika Ghosh, Rana Ayyub, Kavita Krishnan, Prashant Bhushan, Sanjay Singh, Saba Naqvi, Swati Chaturvedi, Shama Mohamed, Alfons Lopez Tena, moneycontrol, Smitha Nair, Nirjhari Sinha, National Herald, Mitali Saran, Ali, Real Report, Ashok Swain, Man Aman Singh Chhina, Tarek Fatah, Jignesh Mevani, Ajit Anjum, Isaac Chotiner, Swaraj India, Khaled Beydoun, Lt Gen H S Panag (Retired), Seema Chishti, Rakesh Sharma, GK Zhimomi, Muzamil Jaleel, Kawalpreet Kaur, Karuna Nundy, Pooja Pillai, Snehesh Alex Philip, Avinash Dutt, Spandan Srivastava, Vimlendu Jha, Saif Ullah Khan, Omar R Quraishi, Niraj Bhatia, Bumbai Ki Rani, Paranjoy Guha Thakurata, Nishita Jha, Zafar Sareshwala, Suresh Mathew, Parmesh Shahani, Faraz Arif Ansari, Dushyant, Liz Mathew, Aamer Javeed and Debasish Roy.

We searched the social media accounts of the concerned hospital and we found the statement of the doctor, The Indian Express claims to have spoken to, has alleged that the outlet has misquoted him.

The statement of the doctor can be viewed below.

When we searched further, we found a tweet by the official Twitter handle of The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom where the body has condemned the segregation of the patients on the basis of religion.

Replying to the aforementioned tweet, Anurag Srivastava who is the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, India, has suggested that the USCIRF  ‘stop adding religious color to India’s national goal of fighting the COVID 19 pandemic.’

Additionally, we found a tweet made by the Gujarat arm of Press Information Bureau which has denied the allegations levied against the concerned hospital.

Similarly, in a tweet, the Department of Information in Gujarat,, rubbished the claims of segregation of COVID-19 patients on the basis of religion. 

The Health & Family Welfare Department of the Gujarat Government has also clarified the issue in a Twitter thread.

Since the government has denied the allegations of segregation of COVID-19 patients on the basis of religion and the doctor whom the outlets claim to have spoken, alleges to be misquoted, here’s a list of questions that make the report carried by the two news outlets look suspicious.

  1. If Dr. Rathod said that the segregation is taking place on the orders issued by the government, did the outlets try to ask for a copy of the order? If yes, did they get the same? If yes, why was the copy of the order not mentioned in the report?
  2. The Indian Express claims to have spoken to Dr. Rathod and some of the patients as well, is there a video/audio proof for the same? If yes, why is the same not mentioned in any of the updated versions of the report? Since the Government has denied the acknowledgment of any segregation on the basis of religion, the best practice would be to produce the proofs of the conversations which according to the outlet took place inside the hospital.
  3. The Indian Express claims to have spoken to the district magistrate of Ahmedabad and the Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat and both have categorically denied the acknowledgment of any such segregation. Now, since the outlet has not been able to produce a copy of the order, how did the outlet reach the conclusion that segregation has taken place based on an order issued by the government?
  4. In the report published by ‘The Hindu’, the outlet has mentioned that the said information was provided by a special correspondent, why did the outlet not ask for the proof of testimony of the patients or the statement made by the ‘anonymous doctor’ it has mentioned in the report?

Basis the statement of Dr. Rathod of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital and a clear denial of several government bodies, we reached the conclusion that the two outlets mentioned above, published a ‘False’ report which was later amplified by several verified Twitter handles. Also it is noteworthy that despite being called out by the government, both ‘The Hindu’ and ‘The Indian Express’, in spite of adding proofs to their respective reports, have merely updated the reports by adding the government’s denial. 

Sources

  • Google Search
  • Twitter Advanced Search

Result: False

(If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form)

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