2 docs, 1 quack caught on cam asking for gifts

Medical Council suspends their licences, orders probe

The Medical Council of India cancelled the licences of two doctors pending inquiry and handed over a quack to police on Wednesday after the trio was reportedly caught on camera promising to prescribe branded drugs for money and gifts.

The sting operation was recently conducted by a TV channel where journalists posed as pharmaceutical company representatives.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) has handed over the investigation to the Delhi Medical Council (DMC), which should be completed in 60 days.

“The council body has taken suo motu cognisance of the sting operation and suspended the licences of the two doctors pending inquiry, who were seen prescribing drugs on camera in lieu of incentives,” MCI ethics committee member Dr K K Aggarwal said.

Dr J N Saxena, who claimed to be a general practitioner, reportedly agreed to prescribe branded drugs for cash. Another Dr R K Lalwani apparently told the undercover journalists – who posed as medical representatives at his clinic in south Delhi – that he was not short on offers from the market. Dr Lalwani also insisted that he be given an expensive digital camera.

Another Dr Ravinder Kumar, who practices in central Delhi, was ready to prescribe drugs for “a small gift like an iPad” for his son, according to the sting operation carried out by NDTV.

According to the guidelines of the MCI, doctors, hospitals and medical colleges should prescribe generic drugs as far as possible as these come at a much lesser price than branded drugs of select pharmaceutical companies. But it is not an uncommon practice among doctors to promote branded drugs for the sake of incentives, a source in the DMC said.

“While Dr J N Saxena was found to be a quack, the other two doctors were found registered with the DMC. The registrations of Dr Lalwani and Dr Kumar have been cancelled pending investigation. The quack has been arrested. With the investigation being handed over to DMC, we are awaiting an inquiry report in two months,” said Dr Muzaffar Ahmad, chairperson of the MCI ethics committee.

But the DMC is yet to receive an official complaint on the matter. “The DMC has not yet received an official complaint. The complaint must be in process,” DMC registrar Dr Girish Tyagi said.

The immediate handing over of the quack to police is being seen as a stringent step to check quackery in the capital.

“This step is welcome as quacks act as prime agents who take commission in diagnostic centres. The DMC should also promptly hand over quacks to police instead of giving written orders to police and the state government. The latter is a lengthy procedure and delays action,” said Dr Anil Bansal, chairperson of the anti-quackery cell, Delhi Medical Association.

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