August 24, 2010

MCI in a fix over plea against 159 docs on endorsements

The Medical Council of India’s attempt to wriggle out of taking action against the Indian Medical Association for endorsing products of various companies has come to naught with the council being given a list of names of 159 doctors who were party to making the decision to endorse the products.

The list includes the names of Dr Ketan Desai, former president of the MCI who had brought in the MCI regulation banning doctors and doctors professional organisations from endorsing products, the current IMA national president Dr G Samaram, and current national secretary Dr Dharam Prakash.

The MCI had responded to a complaint against IMA’s endorsement saying that “the IMA do not (sic) come under the purview of MCI”. MCI’s response further assured that if complete details of any medical practitioner, registered with MCI, who indulged in violation of the MCI regulations, was provided, the council shall initiate appropriate action.

The complainant Dr K V Babu has now provided the names of 159 doctors who were party to the decision to endorse products in 2008 and sought action against every one of these doctors who come under the purview of the MCI.

In November 2008, the Central Working Committee of IMA had approved the MoU signed with Pepsi to endorse Quaker Oats and Tropicana juices and the MoU with Dabur to endorse its Odomos cream, gel and lotions. The endorsement, supposed to be in operation till March 2011, brought in Rs 2.25 crore revenue for the IMA.

The proceedings of the Central Working Committee meeting show that endorsement money was meant to be used for clearing travel allowance of the IMA members and for international activities affecting IMAs global presence.

Dr Babu pointed out that the MCI regulations clearly stated that doctors were not to take travel allowances from any private industry or endorse products. He calculated that the amount of Rs 2.25 crore earned on the decision of 159 doctors when divided amongst them, worked out to be over Rs 1 lakh per head. According to the quantum of punishment decided by the MCI for various levels of violations, the penalty for accepting anything above Rs 1 lakh is penal erasure from the registry for one year. However, no action has been taken so far.

Link: Original Article

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