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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 18999

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: news

IMA member complains against show-cause notice
The Hindu 2010 Dec 25
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/article978309.ece?sms_ss=email&at_xt=4d160377383501a2,0


Full text:

Indian Medical Association (IMA) member Dr. Babu K.V. has complained that the Association should not have issued him a show-cause notice for bringing out the issue of “unethical endorsements of food products” by IMA.

“I was only pointing to an unethical trend and I have been a whistle-blower in bringing the issue out in the public. The code of ethics notes that a physician should expose without fear or favour, incompetent or corrupt, dishonest or unethical conduct on the part of members of the profession. Despite this I have been issued this notice when the code of ethics gives me the freedom to complain against it,” said Dr. Babu.

The Association in its letter issued to Dr. Babu said: “Though you are a member of the Central Council Member of IMA from Payyanur branch of Kerala, you have never raised the issue of endorsement of food products by IMA in any of the Central Council meetings held before. Without exhausting the existing forums where you could have raised the issue, you had sought to go directly with a complaint to the Union Health Ministry and Medical Council of India requesting action against the office-bearers of the national IMA resulting in the tarnishing of the image of the Association and amounts to serious infringement of discipline.”

The letter also notes that Dr. Babu’s action was prejudicial to the interest of the Association and calculated to bring the medical profession into disrepute.

“The MCI has recently asked the IMA to stop endorsement of food products to ensure that the trend is discontinued. I don’t understand why the IMA is now issuing me a show-cause notice,” Dr. Babu said.

 

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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963