After dna brought to light how pathological laboratory technicians flout norms and sign test reports, the Indian Medical Association (Maharashtra) has asked its doctor-members not to refer patients for investigation to laboratories which do not have qualified pathologists.
IMA is one of the largest bodies of doctors in India and its Maharashtra chapter alone has 200 branches and 40,000 members. It has at least 2.5 lakh members across the country.
It is common knowledge that many doctors refer patients to specific labs fully knowing that they do no have qualified pathologists. There are allegations that these doctors receive commission from the labs for referring patients. In fact, this is one of the reasons why lab tests are expensive.
The Maharashtra Association of Practising Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM) has recently written to IMA stating that high courts in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have passed orders regarding this issue. The order clearly states that only a doctor with an MD degree in pathology can run a lab and sign reports. However, lab technicians are openly flouting the court order.
"After discussing in detail about the malpractice in laboratories, the IMA is ready to support our fight and it has decided to send a letter to all its members," said Dr Rajiv Rao, executive council member, MAPPM.
"We have issued a detailed circular to all our members in the state. It will reach them within two or three days. We feel that doctors should not refer patients to laboratories which don't have qualified pathologists. We never support such illegal practice," said Dr Jayesh Lele, secretary, IMA (Maharashtra).