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Fertility clinic faces heat for 'unethical' advertisement

Monday, 31 March 2014 - 8:50am IST | Agency: DNA
Its posters outside KEM hospital lure patients by making tall claims
  • The advertisement at the bus stop outside KEM Hospital in Parel

A city fertility clinic has come under fire for advertising outside KEM Hospital, claiming it has the highest In vitro fertilisation (IVF) success rate. The Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) will take action against the clinic for violating medical ethics and making tall claims to lure patients.

Dr Shivkumar Utture of MMC said, "The advertisement violates medical ethics. No doctor can make tall claims about any procedure. We have made a note of the advertisement and will take necessary action."
Rotunda Fertility Clinic has a chain of clinics in Dadar and Bandra. It has recently opened a new branch in Parel. The advertisement is about its Parel clinic and has been put at the bus stop outside KEM hospital.

"It's fine if it's only an advertisement for the new opening; but claiming to have a high success rate is misleading," said Dr Utture.

As per the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, doctors cannot solicit patients directly or indirectly.

The advertisement claims Rotunda to be India's first budget test-tube baby clinic. According to MMC, doctors found flouting the rule can invite punishment ranging from a warning letter to cancellation of their registration, depending on the seriousness of the crime.

Dr Kishor Taori, chairman of MMC, said, "Section 6.1 of MCI's Code of medical ethics says that a doctor cannot advertise for himself or herself alone or even together with other doctors."

The MMC is in the process of streamlining guidelines on self-advertisement which will be uploaded on its website. "The guidelines will be circulated soon. It will include points on how to design your website, writing columns in newspapers, etc. Any other kind of advertising by doctors will be dealt severely. We want to ensure that doctors don't lure the patients into a trap and mislead them via self-advertisement," said Dr Taori.

Dr Arun Bal from the Association of Consumers' Action on Safety and Health, said, "Putting up such a hoarding is against MCI's ethic codes. The medical fraternity uses some loopholes for their benefits — like hospital advertising is still ethically correct. There is a need to revisit the code of ethics as we have new mediums to advertise. Patients shouldn't be lured by any claims."

Dr Gautam Allahbadia, medical director at Rotunda Fertility Clinic, was not available for comment.

Crime & punishment
As per the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, doctors cannot solicit patients directly or indirectly.

The advertisement claims Rotunda to be India's first budget test-tube baby clinic. According to MMC, doctors found flouting the rule can invite punishment ranging from a warning letter to cancellation of their registration, depending on the seriousness of the crime.


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