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Bell-Kenz Pharma Inc. to file cyberlibel vs. individuals spreading 'malicious accusations'

Bell-Kenz Pharma Inc. is set to file cyber libel charges against individuals spreading “malicious accusations” against the firm and its affiliated doctors on social media. 

“We are preparing criminal actions against those who are posting online malicious accusations against Bell-Kenz and the doctors,” Lawyer Dez Perlez, the legal counsel of the pharmaceutical firm, said at Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum Wednesday. 

“Napu-put at risk pati safety nila…nakakareceive rin sila ng threats,” Perlez added. 

(The doctors’ safety was put at risk as they are also receiving threats.)

Senator Jinggoy Estrada previously alleged that Bell-Kenz recruited doctors by enticing them with “promises of exorbitant commissions and lavish incentives” in exchange for prescribing the brand.

"While it is not illegal for medical professionals to engage in business activities, it is highly unethical when a pharmaceutical company owned by doctors hires other doctors as agents and pays them commissions based on the prescriptions they give to patients," Estrada said.

Bell-Kenz Pharma Chief Executive Officer Luis Raymond Go dismissed the allegation and described it as “misinformation” during a Senate hearing held last week. 

“I unequivocally state that Bell-Kenz is a law-abiding company adhering to the rules of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), and other relevant governing bodies,” said Go.

Perlez, for her part, reiterated that having doctors among the firm’s board of directors and stakeholders is not illegal and not unethical

“Hindi illegal para sa mga doktor ang mag-negosyo. Kaya may mga doctor tayo na may-ari ng ospital, ng laboratory clinics, pharmacies, at may-ari ng testing centers,” the legal counsel said. 

(It is not illegal for doctors to have businesses, that’s why some doctors own hospitals, laboratory clinics, pharmacies, and testing centers.)

“Ang kailangan ay disclosure. Sa ngayon, kulang pa or wala pang guidelines kung pano ba dapat i-disclose ng mga doctors kung kanino o saan ba niya id-discslose kung mayroon man siyang shares sa isang pharmacy, hospital, or pharma company,” Perlez said. 

She added that “in relation to the investigations, ‘yun ang inaasahan natin na magiging resulta. Mabuo na ang guidelines pagdating sa disclosure para mabigyan ang doctors ng guide pagdating sa ganitong issue”.

(What is required is disclosure. Right now, we are lacking guidelines for it. In relation to the investigations, we expect that a guideline for disclosure will be crafted after its completion so we can help doctors in these scenarios.) —Sundy Mae Locus/ VAL, GMA Integrated News