MCI Code of Ethics Violation: Three doctors feature self in Ads, face state medical council wrath
Kozhikode: Three doctors recently faced the wrath of Travancore-Cochin Medical Council (TCMC) as the council censured them for allegedly featuring themselves in advertisements, in violation of the provisions of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette, and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.
Among them, two doctors are attached to PVS Hospital, Kozhikode, while one attached to V Care Skin and Piles Centre, Kattakkada, Thiruvananthapuram.
As per a recent media account, on March 19, 2019, an image of the doctor from Thiruvananthapuram, was carried along with an advertisement in a local newspaper claiming that the clinic offered haemorrhoid symptoms treatment for the first time in Kerala; while the doctors from Kozhikode were found in an advertisement offering treatment for a varicose vein in the April 2019 issue of a popular health magazine.
However, the move amounts to unlawful activity as Section 6.1. of the Indian Medical Council Regulations Act says that soliciting of patients directly or indirectly, by a physician, by a group of physicians, or by institutions or organisations is unethical.
"A physician shall not make use of him/her (or his / her name) as a subject of any form or manner of advertising or publicity through any mode either alone or in conjunction with others which is of such a character as to invite attention to him or to his professional position, skill, qualification, achievements, attainments, specialities, appointments, associations, affiliations or honours and/or of such character as would ordinarily result in his self-aggrandizement," it says.
A complaint was lodged by Campaign Against Pseudo-Science Using Law and Ethics (CAPSULE) Kerala, a platform launched by the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad.
Taking strict cognizance of the concern, the Council issued an order on August 14 and severely condemned the act.
Commenting on the issue, the doctor from Kattakkada denied participating in any such ad and claimed that the advertisement was placed without his knowledge. While one of the two doctors in Kozhikode explained that he had snapped ties with the hospital much before the advertisement was placed in the magazine, the other claimed that his consent was not taken before it was published.
However, the clarification did not seem to be convincing as according to a recent media report in The Hindu, the modern medicine ethics committee of the TCMC, pointed out that the doctors cannot wash their hands of the act of being featured in advertisements.
Later, they tendered apologies and the TCMC censured them.