Jaipur, September 2020: Transparency and ethical business experts have expressed concern at the increased risk of corruption due to the COVID-19-induced pandemic at a webinar titled 'Transparency, Ethics and Integrity in Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Sector' by IIHMR University and the Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET) at Global Compact Network India (GCNI). The speakers emphasized that transparency is a vital component to build an effective and efficient health care system, and the lack of transparency in healthcare threatens to erode public trust.
"Globally, USD 7 trillion is spent on corruption, and 7% of it is lost. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the performance pressure has gone up, the government pressure for speed has increased and hence, there is huge money floating around. 70% of countries have reported new forms of corruption during COVID-19. Corruption evolves rapidly, and so do the challenges. We need rapid, broad, state-of-the-art education and technology to counter that," said Prof. Wolfgang C. Amann, Academic Programme Director, HEC Paris.
"Transparency is essential for good governance, as it increases accountability. There are so many ethical issues in the pharmaceutical and health sectors, including producing crescendo data, the quest for profit-making, and not following rules and ethics. One of the causes of poor quality is the lack of sharing of information. Transparency is important from a moral point of view. It is important for providers, regulators, and recipients to assured information, pricing, and treatment quality. The need of the hour is to have more capacity building programs for health care professionals that focus on values and ethics.," said“Dr. S.D. Gupta, Chairman, IIHMR University. Dr. Gupta was also chairing the session”.
"The amount of money donated for research for a vaccine for COVID-19 increases the risk of corruption and the processes to ensure transparency in clinical trials are very nascent. Harnessing and maintaining public trust in public institutions is important. There needs to be more research on corruption in the healthcare sector. Currently, there is very little research and advocacy surrounding the issue. This is an issue that needs more health care professionals caring about it. The change must come from within the sector, not outside. Since health is a human right issue, tacking corruption must be a part of our daily bread," said “Ms. Sarah Steingrüber, an Independent Global Health Consultant from Germany”
Identifying that compliance is a business reputation need, Prof. Matthias Kleinhempel, Director, Centre for Governance and Transparency, IAE Business School, Argentina, said, "The incentive programs are short-term financial goals without any regard to how it is achieved. We need an adequate incentive system. High percentages of pay tied to short term financial goals promote money-making. To reduce corruption, it is important to tie pay to long-term and non-financial goals. The incentive programs are short-term financial goals without any regard to how it is achieved."
“In the health sector, transparency and ethics are key pillars for quality health care services. Transparency is must if we are talking about patient-centric health care services. IIHMR has discussed this in the past and will continue to bring forth the multiple aspects of this eternally-valid concept,”saidDr. P R Sodani, Pro-President, IIHMR University.
"Corruption should be considered at a local context and effective implementation of anti-corruption policies is akey. The first step is to conduct a corruption risk assessment to gauge the corruption risks, impact, and likelihood. It is possible to build an anti-corruption compliance programme once these assessments are centralized into most urgent and pressing issues." said “Ms. Ashley Demming, Project Manager, United Nations Global Compact, New York”.
Prof. Ronald E. Berenbeim, Adjunct Professor, NYU Stern School of Business and Senior Fellow, Conference Board, the US, said that Macro-level corruption happens when a company's efforts do not maximize the efficiency of the economy and benefits to all its participants. There are four kinds of market failure – monopoly, negative externalities, corporation utilization of public goods, and information asymmetries.
The esteemed session was moderated by Prof. Shiv K. Tripathi, Dean (Training), IIHMR University and Ms. Shabnam Siddiqui, Director-CEGET, Global Compact Network India.
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