The News Minute | July 2, 2014 | 6:57 PM IST
Even as Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has emphasised that the Medical Council of India (MCI) needs to be restructured, allegations against MCI continues unabated.
Activists Brinda Karat and Prashanth Bhushan have written to the Health Minister taking up the cause of a whistle blower from Kerala, Dr. VK Babu.
The letter discusses how Babu is being mistreated and even harassed for exposing paid endorsements issue. Back in 2010, Dr. Babu had brought to light that certain Pepsico products including Tropicana and Quaker Oats were endorsed by the IMA after they received a payment of Rs. 1.56 crore.
The case against the four doctors, who were also the office bearers of IMA for endorsing the products after receiving money, was filed back in 2010. The endorsement as per Dr. Babu was illegal & unethical under - Violation of PFA Act 1956 Section 39 & MCI regulations 2002.
In 2010 November, the MCI declared that, the endorsements were illegal and the doctors licenses were suspended for a period of time.
Babu’s contention was proved right when the Medical Council of India declared that the IMA’s endorsement was indeed illegal and unethical. But soon Babu was under fire, show-cause notices were issued against Babu by the four doctors asking why he should not be removed from the IMA as he approached the Health Ministry and MCI for an issue.
Dr Babu told The News Minute that soon after his complaint the IMA lead by the very doctors who he complained against, decided to expel him. In June 2013. the MCI Ethics committee that heard his complaint found that four doctors were guilty of misconduct and recommended removal of their names from the IMA register for a year.
Following the show cause notice he approached the MCI yet again, the MCI’s Ethics Committee heard the case and in June 2013 concluded that the four doctors were guilty of professional misconduct and even recommended the removal of their names from the Indian Medical Register for a year.
Brinda Karat has complained to the Health Minister that, "the new board of the MCI overturned this decision of the Ethics Committee.
In a surprising move the MCI Deputy Secretary, Ashok Kumar Harit, wrote to the Secretary, Ministry of Health on 03/06/2014, since “ Indian Medical Association does not come under the purview of MCI, it is neither open nor permissible for the MCI to make any comment as to why show cause was made against Dr KV Babu by IMA”.
Babu says the complaint was never against the IMA, it was against the four doctors who had indulged in something illegal.
The latest statement by the MCI undermines the authority of none other than the MCI itself. While the IMA is an association of doctors, MCI is a statutory body with the responsibility of establishing and maintaining high standards of medical education and recognition of medical qualifications in India. Babu is of the opinion that right now the MCI is misleading the entire country with its statement, “They must resign first”, he says.