Indian Medical Council

Rx for Referrals: Navigating the Ethical Considerations in India’s Medical Landscape

Introduction

In the intricate ecosystem of global healthcare, the trust between doctors and patients forms the bedrock of ethical practice. A growing number of Indian healthcare service providers are integrating digital health technologies into their business development initiatives and operational framework, leading to an unsettling trend. Several such healthcare providers now deploy offline and online resources to set up and maintain incentive-driven patient referral networks through collaboration and partnership arrangements with healthcare institutions and practicing doctors. These arrangements are designed to attract new patients through referrals from doctors, pharmacists, and healthcare workers, who are then adequately compensated with merchandise, coupons, gifts, travel facilities and grants. This intersection of medicine and commerce raises profound ethical and legal questions, challenging the integrity of the medical profession and the sanctity of patient care.Continue Reading Rx for Referrals: Navigating the Ethical Considerations in India’s Medical Landscape

Encapsulating the Branded vs. Generics Debate: Pitfalls and Doctors’ Dilemma

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on May 12, 2023, issued an Office Order directing heads of hospitals and polyclinics run by the Central Government, and CGHS wellness centres to ensure that all doctors (including residents) prescribe only generic medicines (“Order”). Additionally, this order contains an instruction to completely curtail the visits of medical representatives to hospital premises, with the caveat that information about new launches may be communicated by way of emails only.

On the face of it, there is little fault to be found in the Order and its dicta. In fact, it ties into the recent push to promote generic medications over expensive branded drugs. That said, it may be worthwhile to take a step back and look at the legal and policy implications of this course of action afresh, especially in light of the unintended consequences it may entail.Continue Reading Encapsulating the Branded vs. Generics Debate: Pitfalls and Doctors’ Dilemma