M A I N   N E W S

Endorsing Pepsi, Dabur Products
Show-cause notices to 61 IMA members
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 6
In the dock for endorsing Pepsi and Dabur products in lieu of money, the office-bearers of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) continue to be in trouble.

After recommending the removal of the names of serving president and secretary of the IMA from the medical register for six months for “professional misconduct” in the matter, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has now issued show-cause notices to 61 office-bearers of the association who were parties to this continued endorsement of products for commercial reasons -- something the MCI has described as a violation of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Misconduct, Etiquettes and Ethics) Regulations 2002).

In doing so, the MCI has approved the recommendations made earlier by the council’s Ethics Committee, which gave the directions in October. Among the latest lot to receive show-cause notices for professional misconduct are all the 61 executive committee members of the IMA, whose president G Samaram and secretary Dharam Prakash are already facing the prospect of the removal of names from the medical register. The latter has already approached the court against the order and got relief.

The MCI’s latest order directs the 61 doctors in question to personally appear before the council on December 8 or send their lawyers or written stands on the matter as to “why they should not be censured for unethical behaviour”.

The MCI has further directed the IMA to stop the endorsement of Pepsi and Dabur products and recall brochures and ads in a reasonable time period or face similar action as faced by top two officials of the IMA. Importantly, the IMA has refused to present to the MCI copies of the MoUs they signed with the two companies for the endorsement of their products.

Taking a serious note of this refusal, the Ethics Committee, whose decision the MCI has approved, said, “The IMA by refusing to place the MoU before the MCI on the pretext of the agreement being between itself and the companies has shown professional misconduct.”

The Tribune was the first to report that strict censure was on the cards for the IMA office-bearers who agreed to receive Rs 2.25 crore for three years of the contract with Pepsi and Dabur -- Rs 52 lakh a year from Pepsi and Rs 23 lakh a year from Dabur. They agreed to endorse Quaker Oats, Tropicana (Pepsi) and Odomos (Dabur).

The complaint was filed with the MCI by Dr KV Babu, member of the Kerala State Medical Association.





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