CAIRO: Head of the Doctors’ Syndicate, Dr Hamdy El-Sayyed, sent a stern warning to any doctors found selling medication in their private clinics, saying they will be referred to a disciplinary court.
The announcement came in response to a complaint filed by Dr Ahmed Gebril, head of Alexandria’s Pharmacists’ Syndicate, regarding doctors and medical centers that sell medication without a permit, which is in violation of the law and the industry’s code of ethics.
El-Sayyed replied with a letter to Gebril, assuring him that any doctor accused of doing so would be referred to a disciplinary court.
He also said that the syndicate is “willing to start an investigation right away into every case mentioned in the complaint.
El-Sayyed told Daily News Egypt that doctors who violate this law will be interrogated before being referred to a disciplinary court, which will then decide on the appropriate punitive measure – be it a warning, a fine or suspension that can range from one week to several months or even years.
Members of the Doctors’ Syndicate clarified that El-Sayyed’s announcement is nothing new because it is prohibited by law for doctors to sell medication.
“Our role [as the syndicate] is to receive complaints, report them to the Ministry of Health as the body responsible for starting an investigation and making sure that the doctors get a fair trial, Dr Essam El Erian, secretary general of the Doctors’ Syndicate told Daily News Egypt.
Pharmacists complain that they are the ones bearing the brunt of this illegal practice.
“Doctors are offering their patients a package these days which includes the medication. This is unfair to us [the pharmacists] and the patients as well, since there may be a conflict of interest. The doctor might prescribe the medication available to him, or worse, he might simply prescribe a certain drug for profit, said Ahmed Ramy, member of the high board at the Pharmacists’ Syndicate.
Alexandria’s Pharmacists’ Syndicate first discussed the issue at a general assembly meeting last month with owners of all the major pharmacies in Alexandria. According to the syndicate’s official website, participants agreed that five measures must be taken.
First, pharmacists should only sell medication approved by the Ministry of Health.
Moreover, the syndicate is to contact all international pharmaceutical companies and alert them of the illegal practices their branches in Egypt are adopting to increase sales.
The syndicate will also cooperate with the media and start a public awareness campaign on the issue.
The next step is to alert the Ministry of Health and the Doctors’ and Pharmacists’ Syndicates in Cairo.
Finally, members of the syndicate agreed to create an independent committee that will randomly inspect clinics.