Costly gifts could put doctors out of practice for up to a year

In an attempt to tackle the problem of doctors accepting expensive gifts from the pharmaceutical and health care industry, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has decided to propose that doctors found accepting costly gifts not be allowed to practise for a year and more. The proposal will be sent to the Union Health Ministry for approval this week.

Having decided that a blanket ban on gifts, as proposed earlier, would not work, it is proposed that changes be made in the professional conduct, etiquette and ethics regulation. So doctors accepting gifts would be struck off the Indian medical register for periods ranging from three months to more than one year or as decided by the state medical council if they are found to be indulging in any wrongdoing.

While those accepting gifts worth more than Rs 1,000, till up to Rs 5,000, will be given a warning, those found to have taken gifts for more than Rs 5,000, till up to Rs 10,000, will have their names removed from the MCI register for three months. A gift worth between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000 can lead to removal from MCI register/state medical register for six months, and one above Rs 1 lakh would invite a penalty of more than a year.