C. Maya

Doctors told to renew their registration

No recognition for CMEs conducted by drug firms

Thiruvananthapuram: The State’s Travancore-Cochin Medical Council (TCMC) has decided to firmly keep pharmaceutical companies at arm’s length by insisting that no continuing medical education programmes (CMEs) conducted or sponsored by drug firms will be considered for accreditation or for allotting credit hours to doctors registered under the TCMC.

The TCMC has rejected a request by the State leadership of the Indian Medical Association that CMEs conducted by recognised organisations, which are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, should be recognised by the Council.

The Council made its stand clear in a reply obtained by K.V. Babu, a Payyannur-based physician, who had through the Right to Information Act, sought to know the TCMC’s stand regarding CMEs conducted by pharmaceutical companies.

The TCMC’s stand becomes crucial as for the first time, the concept of registration renewal for doctors is being introduced this year on a national basis.

Re-registration

All doctors registered under the TCMC till 2005 will have to renew their registration by December 31 this year and they should have completed at least 30 hours of CMEs in the last five years, in order to renew their registration.

The Medical Council of India’s proposal to introduce registration renewal for doctors of modern medicine every five years, and to make it conditional on their attendance of CME programmes, was introduced in 2002. The MCI notification of April 6, 2002 on Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics states that the CMEs should be organised by reputed professional academic bodies or any other authorised organisations

The proposal, which had been gathering dust, was re-introduced in 2005. Accordingly, all doctors who have registered with the TCMC till 2005 will now have to seek re-registration by producing evidence of their CME hours.

Public health activists point out that till now, it has been the ‘norm’ that CMEs are organised or sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, who have their own agenda in selecting a topic and inviting faculty of their choice.

The strange relationship between the medical community and pharma companies, with the latter sponsoring lavish conferences-cum-holidays and gifts in the guise of medical education programmes, had more or less become ‘standard industry practice.’

With the TCMC holding on to its stand that only CMEs organised by recognised professional or academic bodies – those conducted by Medical Colleges or by the IMA at the zonal or State-level are acceptable – many medical professionals might find it difficult to notch up the 30 CME hours requirement for re-registration, it is pointed out.

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