May 11, 3:32 PMVaccines ExaminerNorma Erickson
According to a recent article in The Economic Times, New Delhi, complaints have been filed against 1,992 doctors in India alleging they violated professional ethics by receiving gifts, hospitality, or monetary grants from pharmaceutical companies.
The Medical Council of India amended its professional code of ethics in 2002 to prohibit doctors from accepting gifts, travel accommodations, hospitality, cash, monetary grants or any other favors from any pharmaceutical and/or health allied industry for themselves or their family members.
Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, indicated that 31 of these doctors have either been reprimanded or had their names temporarily removed from the Indian Medical Registry.
The Health Minister also said information from a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics recently, reported vaccine manufacturers are offering vaccines to doctors in India at hugely reduced prices. Many of these doctors are charging their patients full price, despite the discounts they received.
Should these allegations prove correct, there may be many more doctors in India facing disciplinary actions.
These allegations surfaced at the same time India is investigating allegations of misconduct and unethical behavior during their recently halted HPV vaccination project in being conducted in two rural Indian provinces.
India may not have a system for reporting adverse events related to medications (see verification here), but they do have a system to report unethical conduct by professionals. Investigations will continue.
Once again, the medical profession in the United States needs to take a lesson from India. Perhaps, if we did not allow gratuities from pharmaceutical companies, there would be a lot fewer high risk medications still on the market.