#India – Whistleblower Dr K V Babu’s 5-yr battle for #medicalethics drags on #Publichealth #IMA


WHISTLEBLOWER Dr KV Babu has risked his medical career to expose a gross violation of law by India’s largest body of medical practitioners (Photo: MADHURAJ)

Rema Nagarajan
30 May 2013, TNN

May 30, 2013: It is exactly five years since Dr K V Babu took up the issue of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) endorsing the products of various companies in violation of the medical code of ethics. The case continues to drag on as the Medical Council of India (MCI) gave one more chance for Dr Rajagopalan Nair, Kerala state secretary of the IMA to appear before it after he failed to do so on two previous dates given to him.

On May 30, 2008, Dr Babu complained to the IMA national president about IMAs endorsement of products of various companies like Pepsico and Dabur. Instead of being lauded for having prevented the association from violating the code of ethics, Dr Babu has been harassed by the IMA, which had to forego crores of rupees that it used to earn from endorsement of products.

Even the MCI which is supposed to regulate the medical profession has been dragging its feet in helping an individual doctor’s efforts to ensure compliance of the ethics code. The battle goes on  relentlessly as IMA continues to harass Dr Babu for standing up against the system, while Dr Babu persists in fighting his lone battle against the largest and most powerful association of doctors in the country.

The saga of endorsement and harassment: 

April 2008– IMA Central Working Committee met and decided to endorse Pepsico products -Tropicana and Quaker

May 2008– Dr Babu K V complained to IMA national president that endorsement was unethical according to the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) code of ethics for doctors

June 2008– Complaint was filed against IMA endorsement to MCI.

August 2008-MCI sent show-cause notice to IMA on endorsement issue

November 2008– IMA ratified minutes of the meeting regarding endorsement

May, June 2009– MCI sent several notices to IMA

July 2009– Ethics committee of MCI took up the issue and decided that IMA was not under the jurisdiction of MCI

July 2009– Dr Babu approached the health ministry to take action against MCI for not upholding the code of ethics.

-Health ministry asked MCI to take up the issue again

August/September 2009– MCI sought legal opinion on whether endorsement by IMA was unethical and whether IMA was within the jurisdiction of MCI

November 2009-Dr Babu approached Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) as no reply was coming from MCI on RTI application on whether endorsement by medical associations was unethical or not. CIC directed MCI to reply by December 31, 2009.

November 30,2009– IMA decided to stop all endorsements in future but would continue already signed MoUs for endorsement

December 2009– MCI clarified that IMA was within the jurisdiction of the code of ethics and that code of ethics was applicable not only to individual doctors but also to professional associations of doctors

March 2010– MCI ethics committee again decided IMA not within jurisdiction on basis of legal opinion of an outdated legal opinion prior to the clarification

April 2010– Dr Babu complained again to the ethics committee of the MCI

May 2010– Dr Babu wrote to MCI seeking information on why no action was taken against office bearers of IMA for violating the code of ethics or MCI regulations 2002 which prohibits endorsement of any commercial product by a physician or group of physicians.

June 2010– NHRC in response to Babu’s complaint directed Health Ministry to take appropriate action on complaint against IMA

July 2010– MCI claimed that IMA was not under its jurisdiction and that action could only be taken on complaints against individual doctors

August 2010– Dr Babu sent a complaint to MCI again, naming individual doctors, 187 members of the Central Working Committee of IMA who decided on the endorsement

MCI declared that IMA was under its jurisdiction and sent show cause notice to IMA

November 2010– Board of governors of the MCI declared IMA endorsement unethical and asked for it to be stopped immediately. Penal action, if any, was to be decided on November 9, 2010

Health minister informed Parliament that MCI had decided to remove the names of the national president of IMA Dr G. Samaram and secretary Dr Dharam Praksh, for 6 months and censure 61 members of the IMA executive.

January 2011– Dr Babu filed a complaint filed to Delhi Medical Council pointing out that the endorsement had not been stopped despite MCI directions

February 2011– PepsiCo stopped using logo and health message of IMA on Quaker oats and Tropicana

IMA Kerala branch decided to expel Dr Babu from IMA for bringing disrepute to the association by complaining to MCI and going to the media

Dr Babu complained to MCI, DMC and Kerala state medical council regarding threat of expulsion and harassment

March 2011-Pepsico officially withdrew IMA endorsement nine months before MoU was supposed to run out.

April 2011– IMA CWC rejects request of MA Kerala to expel Dr Babu since it was not as per IMA bye laws. Request for expulsion was sent back to IMA Kerala

May 2011– MCI and DMC refuse to intervene saying it is a dispute between a member and an association

August 2012– Notice issued from IMA Kerala to Dr Babu appear in person for being instrumental in the publication of an article on the endorsement issue in the press.

Dr Babu complained to the MCI to intervene in the matter

October 2012-Dr Babu appealed to the Health Ministry as MCI was not taking any action on his complaint of IMA’s harassment

November 22, 2012– Health Ministry sought comments from MCI on Dr Babu’s appeal

Jan 22, 2013: MCI ethics committee examined the complaint and discussed the issue

March 22, 2013: Summoned Dr Babu and Dr Rajagopalan Nair, former IMA state secretary. Both parties could not attend

April 26, 2013: Dr Babu and Dr Rajagopalan summoned again. Dr Babu appeared before the MCI ethics committee and presented his case and submitted relevant documents. Dr Rajagopalan failed to appear

May 24, 2013– Dr Rajagopalan was summoned again. He did not appear and the ethics committee has decided to give him one more chance to appear next month.

And so the quest for justice drags on beyond five years.

 

Delhi High Court tells MCI to Fix rural health care course syllabus in six weeks #goodnews


 

English: National Rural Health Mission of India

English: National Rural Health Mission of India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

R. RAMACHANDRAN

 

 

 

In High Court, Health Ministry puts the blame on Council for delay

The Delhi High Court has given the Medical Council of India (MCI) six weeks to finalise the curriculum for the new 3-1/2 year course, ‘Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC)’. The course was proposed by the Health Ministry to meet the acute shortage of (MBBS) qualified doctors in rural areas due to which rural population was being deprived of basic, primary health care.

The court issued the order on Thursday while hearing a contempt case filed by public health specialist Meenakshi Gautham. In her plea filed on February 27, she sought contempt proceedings against the Union Health Secretary and the MCI Chairperson for not having complied with the court’s November 10, 2010 order, wherein they had been asked to initiate measures to introduce the BRHC course by March 2011.

The court had served contempt notices on the Health Secretary and the MCI and had given four weeks’ time to file their responses (see The Hindu, February 28). The contemnors had filed their affidavits in March/April and Thursday’s hearing was following their submissions.

The November 2010 order was issued following several hearings on a 2009 writ petition by Ms. Gautham and the Garhwal Community and Development Society (GCDS). The plea sought speedy introduction of the short-term course for rural health care as per the resolution of the 9th Conference of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare in November 2007 and the recommendation of the 2007 Task Force on Medical Education Reforms for National Rural Health Mission. The order had directed the MCI to finalise the syllabus by January 2011 and the Ministry to begin the course by March 2011. Their failure to comply with the order had prompted Ms. Gautham to file the contempt petition.

DRAFT CURRICULUM READY

In its affidavit, the Ministry has stated that it was ready with a draft curriculum in October 2010 itself and this had been sent to the MCI on October 28, 2010, for its comments and final approval. But the MCI has not been able to give it a final shape even now.

Prashant Bhushan, counsel for the petitioner, said the MCI had stated in its affidavit that it would finalise the course by April 2012 but it was yet to do so even four months after that. In fact, counsel for the Centre also stated that the Ministry was still waiting for the MCI to finalise the syllabus.

REASON FOR DELAY

At Thursday’s hearing, the MCI said the delay was due to the matter being considered by yet another committee of the Council. The Bench, led by Justice Rajiv Shakdher, rejected this argument and ordered the MCI to finalise the curriculum within six weeks, failing which the MCI Secretary should be personally present. The next hearing is slated for October 18.

 

Doctors’ freebies to be Taxed :-) #Goodnews


 

C Unnikrishnan, TNN Aug 7, 2012, 03.56AM IST

MUMBAI: The income-tax (I-T) department will tax the amount pharmaceutical and allied health sector industries spend on freebies for medical practitioners and their professional associations. Those who accept the freebies will also be taxed.

The decision follows an amendment to Medical Council of India regulations banning doctors and their associations from accepting freebies. The freebies include money, travel facilities and hospitality extended by pharma firms and makers of medical devices and ‘nutraceuticals’.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes August 1 circular says the department has come across such instances and a senior pharma company official admitted companies do it to advance sales. He said a company was planning to take around 80 doctors from across the country on a full-expenses paid foreign trip for a ‘seminar’.

The I-T department grants an exemption to money spent on business promotion. It accepts firms’ claims and allows deduction. An official said, “Pharma firms cannot claim the benefit as regulations prohibit it. If we can prove the company extended freebies to doctors, they have to pay taxes. Those who receive freebies will also have to pay a tax on the gift’s value or money spent on it. If a doctor gets a fridge, its market value will be treated as income.”

Chandra Mohan Gulati, a drug regulatory expert, said it was a great first step but “let it not be the last”. He felt doctors should be told to mention details of their ‘gifts’. In 2009, MCI had set guidelines for doctors vis-a-vis pharmaceutical companies.

Ranga Iyer, who used to head Wyeth and the OPPI (Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India), said, “We must look at the IT Act changes in isolation. The need is for ethical marketing practices for pharmaceutical firms and we support any such move.”

Dr Arun Bal of the Association for Consumers’ Action on Safety & Health an NGO that works for patients’ rights, said, “This follows attempts by MCI and the government to bring about self-regulation among doctors and the industry.”

(With inputs from Malathy Iyer)

 

Court Battle- Denial of admission to MBBS course in AFMC


 

girl student from the Capital has moved the Delhi High Court challenging denial of admission to MBBS course by Pune’s Armed Forces Medical College(AFMC) to her on medical grounds.

On the plea by Vidushi Gupta for the court’s directions to the Centre and the AFMC for consideration of her candidature for admission, Justice G S Sistani issued notices to the medicalcollege, the Directorate General Health Services (DGHS) and the Medical Council of India (MCI). The court asked them to file their replies by August 8 and also directed the college to keep a seat vaccant for her till disposal of the matter.

Having regard to the fact that petitioner is otherwise eligible for the seat and the respondent, having granted provisional admission to her, will not fill up till the next date of hearing the one last seat, which is stated to be lying vacant/available as of today,” said Justice Sistani. Gupta, who claimed to have qualified in the merit list for admission against the vacant seats for the academic year 2012-13, was disqualified by the college on the ground of medical unfitness as a mass was found in her ovary during medical examination.

Her counsel Ashok Aggarwal submitted before the court that the act of college is illegal, unjustified, arbitrary, discriminatory, punitive, unconstitutional and violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. The lawyer said the prospectus for the MBBS Entrance Examination, 2012 has failed to mention ‘medical unfitness” as a ground for disqualification.

In her petition, Gupta said the mass which is inactive could be removed by a minor surgery and her father’s request to college to provide 2 weeks’ time to remove the mass was also arbitrarily denied. “The mass in the left ovary is merely a dormant minor cyst which would not affect the healthy life of the petitioner in any manner whatsoever and therefore, the college was not justified in rejecting the candidature of the petitioner,” her lawyer argued. The court slated the matter for next hearing on August 8.

 

‘Sponsored’ doctors under scanner’ #Goodnews :-)


 

English: Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister...

English: Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, India. Français : Shivraj Singh Chauhan, chef de l’exécutif (Chief Minister) du Madhya Pradesh, Inde. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

By Express News Service – NEW DELHI

11th July 2012 10:18 AM

Eleven doctors from Madhya Pradesh, who allegedly went with their families to England and Scotland, are facing a probe, with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare suspecting that a pharmaceutical company could have sponsored their trip.

Speaking to Express, Medical Council of India (MCI) Secretary, Dr Sanjay

Shrivastava, said he is yet to receive a formal order from the Health Ministry for a probe against the doctors.

“Our ethics committee, which has eminent members on the board, will examine the matter after receiving the complaint and only after getting the report we will decide the next course of action,” Shrivastava said.

However, the doctors who figured in the list sent to the PMO denied taking a sponsored trip and said the group of doctors paid for the entire travel. One of the doctors, Srikant Rege of Indore told Express that he never accepted any free tickets from any drug  company and that the allegation was a farce. Another medical practitioner from Jabalpur, Dr Harsh Saxena, said somebody with ulterior motives had complained to Member of Parliament Dr Jyoti Mirdha about the group travel and there seemed to be some misunderstanding as it was a self-financed tour. He also refuted the genuineness of evidence submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office by the Mirdha.

MP Jyoti Mirdha, along with her letter, had enclosed the ticket and PNR numbers, as well as the itinerary prepared by drug manufacturing company for the travel to England and Scotland.

“As I’m writing this letter a total of 11 doctors along with their families are holidaying in England and Scotland on a trip financed by Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Details including names of passengers along with their addresses, ticket numbers, hotels and itinerary are attached for your perusal. Needless to say, acceptance of such trips is in violation of MCI rules,” Mirdha’s communiqué to PM stated.

She has also raised the issue of dichotomy in rules set up to govern the sponsorship issues. “While the MCI rules bar doctors from accepting gifts, tickets, hospitality from healthcare industry, there are no corresponding obligations on the part of the drug industry not to offer such freebies and face penal action in case of violations,” the letter dated June 1, 2012, said.

After some multinational companies were fined by regulating authorities for inducing doctors through unethical means, the MCI notified a mandatory code of ethics to be followed by all medical practitioners. The gazette notification dated December 10, 2009, prohibits the acceptance of gifts, hospitality, travel grants, funds and endorsement of commercial products by doctors.

CHECK THE HOLIDAY TICKET BELOW

Intas.Doctors on holiday

 

 

 

CBI closes assets case against ex-MCI chief #WTFnews


It is very unfortunate that a most corrupt person like Ketan Desai who has amassed wealth illegally is escaping from the CBI net.

 

Rahul Tripathi : New Delhi, Sat Jul 21 2012, New Indian Express

The CBI on Friday closed the disproportionate assets case against former Medical Council of India (MCI) chairman Ketan Desai and his family, saying it did not have enough evidence to prosecute them.

This is the second high-profile case the CBI has closed in recent days, the first one being the disproportionate assets case against former Dental Council of India chief Anil Kohli.

The CBI raided Desai in April 2010 and allegedly caught him taking a Rs 2-crore bribe to grant recognition to a private medical college in Punjab. Desai’s arrest, along with that of J P Singh and Kanwaljit Singh of the medical college, and the subsequent probe highlighted deep-rooted corruption in MCI. The CBI received as many as 160 complaints of alleged violations by medical colleges that were overlooked by MCI.

The CBI then probed about two dozen colleges across India and chargesheeted former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss for granting illegal favours to a college in Indore.

In its closure report, filed in a Delhi court, the CBI claimed there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute Desai, his wife and mother as it had not been able to link his assets to unknown sources of income.

The CBI had booked Desai after allegedly finding “illegal assets” worth Rs 24 crore during raids at his properties in Delhi and Ahmedabad.

The agency claimed Desai and his family had Rs 1.8 crore in bank deposits and owned several properties in Mumbai and Gujarat, five vehicles and gold and diamonds worth Rs 38 lakh.

The CBI then summoned Desai to explain the sources of income and assets owned by him and his family. But after a two-year-long probe, the agency concluded that “the allegations could not be substantiated”

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