The Telegraph
Friday , October 26 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Medical salesmen cry foul on doc timings

Guwahati, Oct. 25: Medical representatives here have alleged that non-availability of doctors round-the- clock at government hospitals in Assam forces them to visit hospitals during out-patient hours.

The allegation comes a week after Gauhati Medical College and Hospital doctors decided to boycott medical representatives after one of them allegedly misbehaved with a senior doctor on October 18. A few medical representatives allegedly entered a unit of the department of medicine forcibly during out-patient department (OPD) hours, disturbing doctors busy attending to patients, and then misbehaved with the senior doctor.

In January, the GMCH had issued an official circular stating that the representatives could meet doctors in their respective wards only after 1pm and in the OPD after 2pm.

“What can we do? Doctors leave the hospitals soon after OPD hours, forcing us to visit them during OPD hours,” a medical representative said.

He said unlike other government hospitals in the country, including Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, hospitals in Assam did not have the system of “dedicated” hours when doctors spend time with representatives to know about the latest medicines available in the market.

“The medical representatives play an important role in keeping doctors and the hospital up-to-date about availability of various medicines in the market. The incident which took place at GMCH was very unfortunate and we regret it,” Centre of Medical and Sales Representatives Union secretary Pranjit Kar told The Telegraph.

Sources, however, attributed the development to an alleged unholy nexus between a section of medical representatives and doctors.

“A survey conducted last year by Consumer Unity & Trust Society International, a reputed NGO, at some hospitals in Assam, including GMCH, found that some doctors were taking costly gifts like cars and air-conditioners from medicine companies and medical representatives to prescribe costly medicines to patients,” the source said.

GMCH superintendent Ramen Talukdar, however, refuted the allegation and said the representatives were creating a nuisance at the hospital, which would not be tolerated.

“Despite repeated requests and official meetings with the representatives on the issue, the latter have refused to stop creating inconvenience to patients as well as doctors by visiting the hospitals during the OPD hours.”