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J-K HC restrains docs from accepting gifts from pharma firms

Srinagar, Dec 24, 2013 (PTI): 14:59 IST
DH illustration. For representation purpose only
Jammu and Kashmir High Court has restrained doctors practising in the state from accepting gifts from pharmaceutical companies, saying the common man bore the brunt of such "nefarious activities".

A division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Tashi Rabstan, while hearing a PIL yesterday, asked all the pharmaceutical companies to restrain themselves from giving gifts of any kind to doctors.

The court also directed the pharmaceutical companies not to arrange tours for doctors within the country or abroad.

"The doctors shall attend research conferences only after it is certified by the Head of the Department that it is in the interest of patient care and the concerned HODs will be at liberty to authorise the doctors to attend the literary seminars after it is certified that the same is in the interests of public," the court said.

The bench was hearing the PIL filed by three Srinagar residents pleading that some doctors were accepting gifts from some pharmaceutical companies to prescribe their medicines which were "not up to the mark".

"It is the common citizen who is caught between the devil and the deep sea and is being denuded of hard-earned money due to medicines which are, allegedly, not up to the proper standard," the court observed.

"The companies are doling out benefits which, it is stated in the petition and submitted at Bar, include giving of costly gifts and even making arrangements for tours of doctors within the country and abroad as well," the court said, adding that "it is the common man who ultimately bears the brunt of all these nefarious activities."

The Director, SKIMS, Valley's premier super-speciality healthcare institute, filed his response through advocate Shah Aamir, submitting that the institute will comply with all directions by the court in this regard.
The court granted three weeks to all the other respondents to file their response.

The other respondents in the PIL include the state government through Chief Secretary, Commissioner of Health and Medical Education, Director of Health and Principals of Government Medical Colleges in Srinagar and Jammu.

The PIL seeks directions to initiate action against doctors involved in the commission and omission of offences, besides cancellation of their licenses.

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