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Medical Council Serves Notice On Doctors For Online Ads

The Tamil Nadu Medical Council (TNMC) has served notices on 100 doctors — majority of them from Chennai — for advertising online. The council has initiated disciplinary action against all 100 of them, and has charged them with misconduct.

Last month, the council had issued a circular to deans of all medical colleges, and medical associations advising doctors to refrain from advertising online. It noted that it was misconduct as per the Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics Regulations of Medical Council of India for a Registered Medical Practitioner to advertise about themselves and their practice to solicit patients. However, the violations continued.

100 notices served

“We have served notices on 100 doctors in the State. Majority of them are from Chennai. The others are from Madurai, Coimbatore and Salem. We have sought explanation from them and they should reply to us within 15 days. We will conduct an inquiry based on their explanation,” said K. Senthil, president of TNMC. The idea behind the move is to ensure doctors comply with the code of conduct and provide a level-playing field for everyone, he said, adding: “Only five per cent of doctors promote themselves on online platforms, and we wanted to keep in mind the welfare of the other doctors.”

Some of the doctors have informed the council that they have removed the online advertisements. “But some have removed their photographs alone, and their names still figure online,” he added. About eight of the doctors were repeat offenders, he said, adding: “We had taken up a similar measure two years ago. Some of them apologised and we let them off with a warning. But they have violated again, and this will be viewed seriously.”

Official sources said advertisers charged ₹200 to ₹250 for every call from a patient through their site or app. “The doctors then charge the patients. This is a vicious cycle,” he said.

Dr. Senthil said that there were plans to launch a facility on TNMC website by the end of this year, to enable public to look up for doctors.- The Hindu