Nexus between reps, doctors affecting healthcare system

Karachi: Patients are suffering hardship due to breach of medical ethics by doctors and medical sales representatives during Outpatient Department (OPD) timing in major government hospitals of Karachi despite Sindh health department has restrained medical representatives from contacting meeting health practitioners during duty.

An official of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital on condition of anonymity said medical sales reps and doctors are not following instructions of medical superintendents (MS) and health department in this regard. He said nexus of doctors and medical sales representatives of drug companies has affected healthcare system.

This breach of ethics can be seen almost in all major hospitals of Karachi, including Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Civil Hospital Karachi, National Institute of Child Health and National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, where the medical reps start roaming different wards with beginning of OPD to get doctors attention. The administrations of these hospitals appear to be helpless to stop them.

Sources said medical reps used different tactics to lure doctors to increase the sale and offer costly gifts like affording doctor’s children education expenditures, foreign tours, dinner in hotels and many more. He said some time medical reps succeeded to get approval of medicines from doctors, which was not productive for patients and even not registered in government medicines lists.

The sources said doctors prescribe expensive medicines to patients to benefit their favorite drug companies to gain personal benefit. This malpractice is putting heavy financial burden on poor visiting patients.

Joint Executive Director & In-charge Emergency Department JPMC Dr Seemi Jamali said administration had adopted clear policy regarding the visit of medical reps in the premises of hospital. She said no medical rep is allowed to visit wards that can effects patients care during rush hours. She said medical reps could meet doctors after the end of OPD timing.

She said heads of all departments would be held responsible if any found one is found breaching medical ethics and other irregularities. She said sales reps could visit casualty department as per schedule placed by administration on notice board. They could visit doctors rooms after 1:00 pm. She said administration would take strict action against medical sales representatives if report is received against them from any department.

General Secretary Pakistan Medical Association Karachi Dr Qazi M Wasiq when contacted said PMA had clear policy on medical ethic in healthcare and health practitioners should follow rule and regulation in hospitals to ensure better health delivery system.

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