National Medical Commission’s new regulations for doctors  

Mandatory prescription of generic medicines, bar on sponsored conferences

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New rules and regulations of the National Medical Commission (NMC).

The National Medical Commission (NMC) under its new rules and regulations has barred doctors from any seminars, workshops, or conferences that involve direct or indirect sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies. The new rule also mandates doctors to prescribe only generic medicine.

Violating the rules may lead to heavy penalties and the cancellation of a doctor’s license for three months, the NMC said.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has expressed its unhappiness and has written to health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, seeking the withdrawal of the   rule on the mandatory prescription of generic drugs till there is quality assurance of all medicines.

“It is a matter of great concern for IMA since this directly imparts patients care and safety. It is believed that less than 1% of the generic drugs manufactured in India are tested for quality. Patient care and safety are non-negotiable for both the government and the medical profession,” the IMA said in this letter. The association urged the central government to intervene and reduce the cost of branded medicine, instead of mandating the prescription of generic medicines.

According to the NMC regulations, “Registered medical practitioners and their families must not receive any gifts, travel facilities, hospitality, cash or monetary grants, access to entertainment or recreation from pharmaceutical companies or their representatives, commercial healthcare establishments, medical device companies, or corporate hospitals under any pretext.” 

Also, registered medical practitioners should not be involved in any third-party educational activity like seminar, workshop, symposia, and conference, which involves direct or indirect sponsorships from pharmaceutical companies or the allied health sector, the regulations stated.

The IMA said that while the intention to ensure ethical conduct and unbiased learning environments is valid, an outright prohibition on third-party educational activities sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or the allied health sector “warrants thoughtful reconsideration”.

Members of the IMA and Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance on Monday met Mandaviya and expressed their concerns over the NMC regulations. The NMC put forward its rationale for bringing in the new guidelines in the meeting, sources said.

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