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Can an institution run by a physician be advertised? Should you advertise your medical practice? |
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Can an institution run by a physician be advertised? Should you advertise your medical practice?
Dr KK Aggarwal & Advocate Ira Gupta,  25 June 2020
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As per the provisions of Clause 6.1.1 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, soliciting of patients directly or indirectly by the physician or group of physicians or by institution or organization is unethical.

Further, as per the provisions of Clause 6.1.1 of Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, the medical practitioner is allowed to make formal announcement in the press about his starting practice, change of type of practice, change in address, etc. The provisions of Clause 6.1.1 are reproduced hereunder:"

“6.1.1 Soliciting of patients directly or indirectly, by a physician, by a group of physicians or by institutions or organizations 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, specialties, appointments, associations, affiliations or honors 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. A medical practitioner is however permitted to make a formal announcement in press regarding the following:-

  1. On starting practice.
  2. On change of type of practice.
  3. On changing address.
  4. On temporary absence from duty.
  5. On resumption of another practice.
  6. On succeeding to another practice.
  7. Public declaration of charges.

Also, as per the provisions of Clause 6.1.2 of Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, printing of self photograph, or any such material of publicity in the letter head or on sign board of the consulting room or any such clinical establishment shall be regarded as acts of self advertisement and unethical conduct on the part of the physician. However, printing of sketches, diagrams, picture of human system shall not be treated as unethical.

Further as per the provisions of Clause 7.11 of Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, the physician is not allowed to contribute to lay press articles and give interviews regarding diseases and treatments which may have the effect of advertising himself or soliciting practices; but is open to write to the lay press under his own name on matters of public health, hygienic living or to deliver public lectures, give talks on the radio / TV / internet chat for the same purpose and send announcement of the same to lay press.

The provisions of Clause 7.12 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 allows an institution run by a physician for a particular purpose to be advertised but with some restrictions. The provision of Clause 7.12 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 is reproduced hereunder:

“7.12: An institution run by a physician for a particular purpose such as a maternity home, nursing home, private hospital, rehabilitation centre or any type of training institution etc. may be advertised in the lay press, but such advertisements should not contain anything more than the name of the institution, type of patients admitted, type of training and other facilities offered and the fees.

"Further, vide judgment dated 10.01.2014 as passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the matter titled as “Max Hospital, Pitampura vs MCI,” it has been categorically observed by the Hon’ble High Court that MCI has no jurisdiction to pass any order against the hospital under the provisions of 2002 regulations. Thus, as hospitals are not covered under MCI Act and the provisions of Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 are not applicable on hospitals, so the hospitals can advertise itself.

In view of the above, it is opined that an institution run by a physician for a particular purpose like maternity home, nursing home, private hospital can be advertised but such advertisement should not contain anything more than the name of the institution, type of patients admitted, type of training and other facilities offered, fees.

The physician or the medical practitioner cannot advertise his medical practice which has the effect of advertising himself or soliciting practices.

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