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Indian Medical Association Certifying Products As ‘Health Friendly’ For Money

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) justified certificating products as ‘health friendly’, despite criticism that it was wrongfully endorsing commercial products for lucrative fees, as per a report in The Times of India.

The association refused to divulge the monetary compensation it received in lieu of certification citing ‘non-disclosure agreements’ with the respective companies, it added.

The latest products certified include an anti-microbial LED bulb which claims to kill 85 percent germs and an indoor paint that claims to kill 99 percent bacteria within two hours of exposure.

IMA secretary general Dr RV Asokan told the paper that only technology or statements deemed ‘health friendly’ were certified in a manner similar to the pre-entry level accreditation of a medical establishment by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH).

He admitted a processing fee but refused to give details of monetary compensation or basis for certification. As per TOI, Dr Asokan stated claims were evaluated by a committee based on available literature or lab reports. Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.

The association had in 2010 stopped providing certifications after its former secretary general Dr Dharam Prakash was issued a notice from the Indian Medical Council (IMC) regarding the matter.

However, the IMC in 2014 reinterpreted the Code of Medical Ethics and Regulations as applicable to only doctors and not associations. A medical association would require a minimum of seven doctors.

Post this, the IMA kicked up mud by certifying a water purifier in 2015. It claimed that it was no longer subject to MCI’s jurisdiction and hence non-requirement for compliance of the rules.

However, doctors have opposed the endorsements because the IMA office bearers as doctors themselves are still subject to MCI jurisdiction. Dr Vinod Paul, Chairperson of the MCI Board of Governors (BoG) told TOI that the board had received complaints and would examine the issue. – Money Control

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