Two Punjab doctors have come under the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) scanner for allegedly accepting free stay during a medical conference held in Mussoorie in Uttarakhand in August 2014 in violation of medical code of ethics.
These are Dr MK Sobti, former president of Punjab chapter of Indian Medical Association, and Dr Ashwani Chaudhary, medical superintendent, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana.
In its report sent last month to the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Union health and chemical fertiliser ministry, under which the pharma companies fall, council president Dr GS Grewal said around 100 doctors were provided free stay in a five-star hotel during the conference, the expenses for which were transferred by a pharma company into the accounts of the local organisers.
He said two Punjab doctors were part of the conference, who from August 29 to August 31 stayed in separate deluxe rooms with a per-day tariff of Rs 6,000 and paid nothing except the paltry room service. He confirmed their presence through a police report from Uttarakhand, which is enclosed in the report sent.
The report also encloses details of the money transfer by the pharma company and the hotel bills of the two doctors to establish what, he said, was a deep-rooted nexus between the pharma industry and doctors.
Demanding a thorough investigation by authorities, Grewal said such a practice is a clear violation of Section 6.8.1 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, which says a medical practitioner will not accept any hospitality, like hotel accommodation for self and family, for attending any conference, seminar or workshop as a delegate while dealing with pharmaceutical and allied health sector industry.
“However, in this case, over 100 rooms were booked for doctors, for which a bill of Rs 30 lakh was paid by local organisers through a pharma company as is evident from the council report,” he added.
“The PMC could find the details of the doctors registered with us, but the matter needs further investigation as there were doctors from other places as well,” Grewal said, adding that the response of the MCI or the central ministries to his report sent on February 15 was awaited.
When contacted, Dr Sobti said he had participated in the conference as a speaker and there was nothing wrong in the entitlement as he was invited there officially. He claimed that there was no reality in the PMC report.
On the other hand, Dr Chaudhary said, “I don’t remember anything about the conference but I have not done anything wrong.”
Despite repeated attempts, MCI president Jayashree Mehta could not be reached for comment.