(Inputs from Ira Gupta)
All members of Indian Medical Association (IMA) are advised not to indulge in “No Cure No Payment” or “Guarantee any cure” as both are violations of Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations as well as Drugs and Magic Remedies Act.
Recently, a division bench of justices SC Dharmadhikari and GS Kulkarni at the Bombay High Court has refused to grant interim relief to a doctor couple running an IVF clinic at Colaba, whose licenses were suspended by Maharashtra Medical Council for three months following complaints that they made promises of guaranteed pregnancy on their clinic website and even offered refund if the treatment failed. The complaint was made by the Advertising Standards Council of India, in 2014.
MCI Ethics Regulations
6.1 Advertising: 6.1.1 Soliciting of patients directly or indirectly, by a physician, by a group of physicians or by institutions or organisations is unethical. A physician shall not make use of him / her (or his / her name) as subject of any form or manner of advertising or publicity through any mode either alone or in conjunction with others which is of such a character as to invite attention to him or to his professional position, skill, qualification, achievements, attainments, specialities, appointments, associations, affiliations or honours and/or of such character as would ordinarily result in his self-aggrandizement. A physician shall not give to any person, whether for compensation or otherwise, any approval, recommendation, endorsement, certificate, report or statement with respect of any drug, medicine, nostrum remedy, surgical, or therapeutic article, apparatus or appliance or any commercial product or article with respect of any property, quality or use thereof or any test, demonstration or trial thereof, for use in connection with his name, signature, or photograph in any form or manner of advertising through any mode nor shall he boast of cases, operations, cures or remedies or permit the publication of report thereof through any mode……………
1.8 Payment of Professional Services: The physician, engaged in the practice of medicine shall give priority to the interests of patients. The personal financial interests of a physician should not conflict with the medical interests of patients. A physician should announce his fees before rendering service and not after the operation or treatment is under way. Remuneration received for such services should be in the form and amount specifically announced to the patient at the time the service is rendered. It is unethical to enter into a contract of "no cure no payment". Physician rendering service on behalf of the state shall refrain from anticipating or accepting any consideration.
The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954: 3. Prohibition of Advertisement of Certain Drugs for Treatment of Certain Diseases and Disorders. Subject to the provisions of this Act, no person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement referring to any drug in terms which suggest or are calculated to lead to the use of that drug for –
d) The diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease, disorder or condition specified in the Schedule……………………….
Diseases and Ailments (by whatever Name described) which a Drug may not Purport to Prevent or Cure or Make Claims to Prevent or Cure: 48 (Sterility in women)