Showing Severe Astonishment over the notification of Medical Council of India, dated 1st February 2016, the Parliamentary Committee has slammed MCI over deleting the words “and professional association of doctors” through an amendment to the clause 6.8 of the MCI Code of Ethics Regulations, 2002. This move of the MCI has allowed professional associations to be exempted from the MCI code of ethics.
The Committee observed that exempting professional association of doctors from the ambit of Ethics Regulations is nothing short of legitimizing doctors’ associations indulging in unethical and corrupt practices by way of receiving gifts in cash or kind under any pretext from the pharma industry or allied health industry.
The Committee also showed an agreement with the view point of public health activists that “an action that is ethically impermissible for an individual doctor cannot become permissible if a group of doctors carry out the same action in the name of an association.”
“The Committee could not uncover any rational reason as to why the MCI has taken such a retrograde decision. It seems that the MCI has become captive to private commercial interests, rather than its integrity in public interest,” the said report noted
The parliamentary panel also pulled up the ministry of health for its inaction against the MCI over the issue. The panel called immediate adherence to the MCI regulations by professionals and their associations alike. The panel commented:-
“The Committee also finds it intriguing that instead of intervening to thwart attempt of MCI at subverting the system, the Ministry has meekly surrendered to MCI. The Committee recommends that the Ministry should take immediate action in the matter to ensure that the illegality committed in terms of violation of ethical standards of 2002 Regulations, either by an individual doctor or a group of doctors in the form of an association is not kept out of the jurisdiction of MCI and the words “and professional association of doctors” are restored to clause 6.8 of the MCI Code of Ethics Regulations 2002 so that no immunity, whatsoever, is accorded to any association or society of doctors. If there are any other legal infirmities in the framework of the 2002 Regulations, they should be removed.”
Whistle-Blower Given Relief
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health’s Intervention has also given relief to a whistleblower doctor from Kerala, Dr Babu K.V who had complained to the MCI against IMA, which had signed a Rs.2.25-crore deal with Pepsico for endorsing its products and which Dr. Babu pointed out was in violation of the MCI’s Code of Ethics Regulations, 2002. This has eventually led to his expulsion from the IMA Kerala branch and collision course with MCI, reports Hindu.
Providing relief to the Doctor, the committee, noted
” The Committee taking note of the submissions of the President, MCI that the existing Ethics Committee has closed the case against the whistleblower doctor from Kerala and his wiferecommends that completion of all formalities concerning the closing of the case be expedited by the MCI. The Committee desires to be informed of the final outcome/fulfillment of the assurance made by the President MCI, to the Committee in this regard, within one month from the presentation of this Report.