Accepting gifts, travel and hospitality or cash — except for approved research - from the pharmaceutical industry will become illegal for doctors, if the Medical Council of India has its way.
The council — the statutory body regulating medical colleges and registration of doctors — has proposed an amendment to the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 with a stringent “code of conduct” for doctors added to the chapter for unethical acts.
Its recommendations, which have been okayed by all 22 state MCIs and over three dozen professional medical associations, were sent to the health ministry in a letter on Friday.
“We found that many pharmaceutical and allied industries were offering incentives in forms that are neither proper nor ethical. This needed to be regulated under law. Patients and research should come first,” said Dr Ketan Desai, president, MCI.
“Once these changes are okayed by the health ministry and notified, legal action can be taken against doctors who get paid to promote drugs and products,” said a health ministry official unwilling to be named.