To break doctor-pharmaceutical nexus, the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has put a ban on doctors attending conferences sponsored or organised by commercial companies manufacturing goods or machines used in patient care.
Going a step further, the institute has also ordered that now for each conference, which doctors claim to attend on their own expenses, will have to be paid from doctors’ own bank accounts.
Sources in the PGIMER reveal the institute director recently issued a circular (the copy of which is with HT) saying, “A faculty member cannot take support from such commercial bodies/industry.”
The director’s order came on the recommendations of a committee constituted under the chairmanship of one of the senior-most professors Dr SK Jindal, who also heads pulmonary medicine department of the institute.
Brining more transparency in the entire process, the director has also ordered that if a faculty member claims that he/she is going for international conference on personal expenses then he/she should submit an undertaking to that effect clearly disclosing the matching personal source(s) before going to the conference.
“Additionally, after returning from the conference he/she shall submit the proof that the expenses or air travel were met from his/her bank account. He should also disclose the source of the expenditure of registration and accommodation. Further, the faculty member should submit a report of his participation in the conference along with expenditure statement to the dean’s office.”
The institute has also said the applicant doctor should produce an invitation from the organising committee clearly stating the role of the participant doctor as to what all is being supported by the organisers.
Significantly, the PGIMER grants around `1.5 crore every year to doctors to attend national and international conferences for their travel and stay expenses.
However, it is a common culture that international conferences for a large number of PGIMER doctors are not more than an exercise of entrainment.
Around 65% faculty members who attended the conferences on public expenses didn’t submit the mandatory report after attending the conference. And around 25% of them didn’t even produce the evidence that any of their research paper has been accepted for the conference.