Listed and unlisted healthcare and pharmaceutical companies have participated in the electoral bonds scheme. Besides vaccine companies, and the maker of popular paracetamol brand Dolo, the listed companies (some through unlisted entities) include Aurobindo Pharma, Mankind Pharma, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Zydus Healthcare, Natco, Sun Pharma, Torrent Pharma, Piramal Pharma, Cipla, Glenmark, Lupin, Ipca and Ajanta Pharma.

The major unlisted companies included Hetero Drugs, Hetero Labs and Hetero Biopharma, MSN Labs, Micro Labs (Dolo maker), USV, Intas; vaccine companies Bharat Biotech and Chiron Behring, and Biological E and hospital Yashoda Super Speciality Hospital.

CompanyTotal Estimated Amount (In Rs crore )
Yashoda Super Speciality Hospital162
Aurobindo Pharma / APL Healthcare Ltd 71
Hetero Biopharma / Hetero Drugs / Hetero Labs 60
Sun Pharma Laboratories 31.50
Zydus Healthcare 29
Mankind Pharma 24
Cipla 39.20
Piramal Pharma (separate from Piramal Enterprises etc) 3
Torrent Pharma (separate from Torrent Power) 76.50
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories 80
MSN Pharma /MSN Pharmachem 36
Micro Lab 16
Biological E 5
Bharat Bio / Chiron Behring Vaccines15

The list also includes Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Premchand Godha, among the obvious names. A quick snapshot of the companies, through multiple entities, and individuals purchasing the bonds, totals up to over ₹700 crore. The drug companies make a host of medicines, including critical cancer drugs, diabetes medicines and vaccines.

Industry observers point out that while there was nothing wrong in participating in the scheme, others are pointing to questions it could raise with shareholders (in listed companies), and possible conflict of interest issues.

Money trail

Brinelle D’Souza, Co-Convenor, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA- Mumbai), told businessline that the development was a cause for concern, as it raises questions on implications this could have for any government, especially when it comes to addressing issues of access to medicines and drug price control.

While public health workers follow the money trial and glean details of the data to understand its implications, at first take, they point to the discomfort of seeing companies that were part of an investigation (Aurobindo) or others that were in the headlines for being in the tax-net, like Hetero and Dolo-maker Micro Labs, participating in this exercise.

Meanwhile, the pharma and healthcare companies have not made any public statements on the development.