HC for end to gift taking ‘menace’ by doctors

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the state government to file a detailed ‘statement of facts’ about its December 23, 2013 order which had restrained doctors from accepting any kind of gifts from pharmaceutical companies.

A division bench of Justices Hasnain Massodi and Dhiraj Singh Thakur also directed respondents including Chief Secretary, Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Director Health, and Principals of Government Medical College Srinagar/Jammu to file suggestions to “control the menace.”

The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Naseer Ahmad Shah, Lateef Panjabi and Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah—all residents of Srinagar.

The petitioners have named six doctors who they claim were found by them taking gifts and money for prescribing medicine, some “unnecessarily”.

“(Senior Additional Advocate General J A) Kawoosa shall inform the court regarding enquiry, if any, conducted against the doctors mentioned in para-4 of the petition and the action taken against the erring doctors on the basis of outcome of such enquiry,” the bench said.

The doctors identified in para-4 of the petition include Firdous Ahmad Vaid, Fayaz Ahmad Peerzada, Abdul Ahad Wani, Javaid Ahmad Wani and Javaid Ahmad Zargar.

The direction followed submission by advocate Shah Aamir, appearing for SKIMS, that none of the doctors named in para-4 of the petition is from the Institute.

“One of the doctors namely Abdul Ahad Wani was only a senior resident for a period of two years,” he said.

On December 23 last year, the division bench besides restraining doctors had also asked all the pharmaceutical companies to restrain themselves from giving gifts of any kind to doctors.

The bench had also directed the pharmaceutical companies not to arrange tours for doctors within India or abroad.

“The doctors shall attend research conferences only after it is certified by the Head of the Department that it is in the interest of patient care and the concerned HODs will be at liberty to authorise the doctors to attend the literary seminars after it is certified that the same is in the interests of public,” the court had said.

Advocate Gul Ayaz represented the petitioners before the bench.