In a move aimed at enhancing transparency and ethical standards in the medical field, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has released new regulations that impose strict restrictions on doctors’ interactions with pharmaceutical companies and their representatives.
Under these regulations, doctors and their families are barred from accepting gifts, travel facilities, hospitality, cash, or any form of recreation from pharmaceutical companies, commercial healthcare establishments, and medical device firms. This prohibition extends to endorsing drug brands, medicines, equipment, or advertising them in any capacity.
Additionally, the regulations emphasize the importance of timely access to medical records. Any request for medical records made by patients or authorized attendants to registered medical practitioners responsible for patient records in hospitals must be acknowledged, and the documents should be supplied within five working days. In cases of medical emergencies, efforts are required to make the medical records available at the earliest.
The NMC regulations also prioritize the digitization of patient medical records for quick retrieval and enhanced security. Within three years from the regulations’ publication, registered medical practitioners are required to ensure fully digitized records that adhere to data protection, privacy laws, and applicable regulations.
Furthermore, the regulations detail the necessity for continuous professional development among doctors. A registered medical practitioner must attend professional development programs annually, accumulating at least 30 credit hours every five years. Only recognized medical institutions can offer such training, ensuring the quality and credibility of the education received.
The guidelines explicitly state that registered medical practitioners should not be involved in third-party educational activities sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or the allied health sector. This move aims to curtail any potential bias that could arise from industry-sponsored educational initiatives.
The regulations also specify that doctors are fully accountable for their actions when attending to patients and are entitled to appropriate fees. In cases of abusive or unruly behavior from patients or their relatives, doctors can document and report such behavior, with the option to refuse treatment and refer the patient for further care elsewhere.
For the first time, the term “emergency” is defined as a “life and limb saving procedure,” providing clarity on its usage. The NMC-approved medical degrees and diplomas that a registered medical practitioner holds can now be displayed as suffixes to their names, enhancing transparency for patients.
These regulations mark a significant step towards enhancing ethical practices, accountability, and patient-centered care in the medical field. As the NMC aims to maintain high standards of medical professionalism and uphold patient trust, the new guidelines reflect a comprehensive effort to bring about positive changes in the healthcare system.
Sources By Agencies