India's new guidelines on gifts to docs

The Indian Medical Association has issued physician gifts guidelines that sound a lot like the U.S.'s:

    According to the guidelines, any gifts accepted by physicians should primarily entail a benefit to patients and should not be of substantial value.

    "Textbooks, modest meals and other gifts are appropriate if they serve a genuine educational function. Cash payments are absolutely unacceptable," [IMA National President Sudipto Roy] said.

    He said individual gifts of minimal value, like pens and notepads, have also been permitted under the guidelines as long as they are related to the physician's work.

    Subsidies to underwrite the costs of continuing medical education conferences or professional meetings are considered contributory to improvement of patient care and therefore permissible, he said.

    However, payments to defray the costs of a conference should not be accepted directly from the company by the physicians attending the meet, IMA Secretary General Vinay Aggarwal said.

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