01 July 2010
By Rema Nagarajan
MCI Gone, Complaints Lie Unattended
On the occasion of Doctors’ Day on July 1, some doctors might have greater reason to celebrate as the ban on doctors accepting gifts and hospitality from the pharmaceutical industry is relegated to the backburner with the new panel that replaced the Medical Council of India (MCI) seeming to go easy on its implementation.
Ever since the ban was enforced at the beginning of the year, the MCI has received numerous complaints of doctors being wined and dined by different pharma companies. So far, little or no action has been taken on these complaints. The newly–appointed panel has been busy with the problem of irregularities in medical colleges and medical education. The panel is yet to have a single meeting on the implementation of the ban or on the complaints against doctors taking bribes from the pharmaindustry.
With the MCI itself coming under a cloud, the complaints that continue to pour in lie unattended and the pharmaceutical companies are going ahead with impunity, becoming bolder as they realise that there will be no consequences to flouting the regulation on bribing doctors.
For example: On the Facebook account of an employee of Bharat Serums and Vaccines Ltd., he and many doctors openly discuss Foligraf nite on the outskirts of Rome in a farm house on June 29, where, he elaborates, they have organized folk dance, Indian DJ, 3 hours of free flow of cocktails and mocktails and 5 course authentic veg & non–veg Italian dinner, soup, breads, pizza, pasta, lasagne and desserts. He states that 150 Indian doctors will be invited. And to this a former president of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India, Dr Narendra Malhota says: "Foligraf nite what date 28 is Serono nite and 27 is Trivector niteso keep on 29th or 30th please."
Incidentally, Foligraf is a product of Bharat Serums, Merck Serono is a company that makes products for infertility treatment and Trivector Scientific Private Limited is a company that claims to be a source for all needs of IVF centres.
Evidently, a lot of doctors keep themselves busy with various nites trips abroad with the MCI in disarray and no one to take action against the violators of the ban.
Dr Sita Naik, a member of the new panel, said the ban on gifts and hospitality was a sweeping regulation brought in without any thought about its implementation. Dr Gautam Sen, another member, said rules and regulations made by the MCI were so difficult that it almost encouraged everyone to become corrupt. Dr Naik, Dr Sen and Dr Devi Shetty, also members of the new panel, assured that the panel would constitute a committee to look into the issue of the ban.
Some of the complaints that have reached the MCI:
- Udaan Diabetes Care Foundation organised Regional Insulin Summit Meet (North) at Fortune Grace Hotel, Mussorie where over 50 rooms were reserved at the cost of Rs 5,500 per room per night. Whoever Udaan might be, the tab for the meet was picked up by Novo Nordisk which sells insulin.
- Piramal Healthcare took about 200 diabetologists to Turkey in January and another batch of oncologists in March to the same destination
- Wanbury took about 100 doctors to Dubai in February and put them up at the luxurious Dhow Palace Hotel. Cox and Kings handled the tour at a cost of about Rs 40,000 per person
Action taken so far: NONE