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The NMC Registered Medical Practitioner (professional conduct) Regulations 2023

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions

 

Source: IE, IE

 Context: The National Medical Commission (NMC) has issued comprehensive guidelines for the professional conduct of registered doctors in India under The NMC Registered Medical Practitioner (professional conduct) Regulations 2023

 

Some key points from the guidelines include:

Aspect Guidelines
Use of Social Media Doctors can use social media for providing information or announcements
The information must be verifiable and not misleading.
The guideline warns against soliciting patients through social media
Prohibited: discussing patient treatment specifics, and sharing patient scans online. Patient privacy must be maintained
Advised to follow decorum when interacting online
Prescription Practices Doctors required to prescribe generic medicines
Exceptions for cases requiring specific brand names due to narrow therapeutic index or exceptional situations
Encouraged to educate patients about the equivalence of generic and branded medicines
Right to Refuse Treatment Doctors have the right to refuse treatment for abusive, unruly, or violent patients and relatives
Must not refuse treatment in medical emergencies
Prohibited from discrimination based on various grounds.
Continuous Professional Development Doctors mandated to undergo continuous learning throughout active years
Accumulate 30 credit points in relevant fields every five years
Annual sessions of at least three credits (ideally six)
No more than 50% of training online
Professional Conduct Doctors prohibited from participating in conferences, CPD sessions sponsored by pharmaceutical companies
Each Doctor shall display the unique registration ID assigned to them in prescriptions, certificates, and money receipts given to patients.
Doctors cannot be involved in fee splitting, commission from diagnostic services, endorsement of a product or person, operating an open to all medical stores, etc
Prohibited from receiving gifts, hospitality, or monetary benefits from pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, or corporate hospitals.
Disciplinary action Five levels of disciplinary actions ranging from warning to permanent debar from practice for RMP

 

Issues with the guidelines:

Related to Generic Medicines:

  • Quality of Generic Medicines: Doctors express concerns about the quality of generic medicines available
  • Limited Availability of Generic Medicines: The availability of these medicines in pharmacies is limited due to low-profit margins.
  • Ineffectiveness of Generic Substitutes: Since the quality of generic medicines can vary across companies, prescribing generics without standardized quality control might lead to ineffective treatments.
  • Loss of Doctor’s Choice: Doctors might lose the ability to prescribe the best-suited medication for a patient, considering their medical history and specific needs.

 

Other issues:

  • Consultation Fees Disclosure: While doctors must disclose consultation fees upfront, estimating surgical or treatment costs accurately might be challenging.
  • CPD Implementation: The requirement for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) might burden doctors with additional training
  • Sponsorship Restrictions: The prohibition of pharmaceutical industry sponsorship for conferences and educational activities could limit the availability of educational opportunities for doctors.
  • Patient Privacy: Balancing social media use with patient privacy might be complex, as even images posted online can be owned by social media companies or the public.

 

What are Generic medicines?

They are pharmaceutical products that are equivalent to brand-name drugs in terms of active ingredients, dosage, strength, route of administration, quality, and intended use. Generic medicines provide cost-effective alternatives to branded drugs while maintaining the same therapeutic effects.

 

Examples of generic medicines include:

  • Paracetamol: Generic version of the brand-name drug Tylenol.
  • Amlodipine: Generic version of the brand-name drug Norvasc.

 

About National Medical Commission (NMC): 

Establishment: Enacted through the National Medical Commission Act of 2019.

 Responsibilities: Overseeing all aspects of medical education, practice, and institutions.

 

Boards within NMC:

  • Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB)
  • Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB)
  • Medical Assessment and Rating Board
  • Ethics and Medical Registration Board

 

Composition: Consists of 25 members, including the Chairperson, Presidents of Postgraduate Medical Education Boards, Presidents of Undergraduate Medical Education Boards, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Director General of Health Services.

 

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