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Delhi HC seeks response of Government on allegation by doctors association of Healthians, Tata 1mg, Practo and others violating IMC Ethics Code

New Delhi : In a writ petition by Association of Practising Pathologists against certain online platforms which includeHealthians, Tata 1mg and Practoover alleged misleading advertisements, ridiculous discounts and unsolicited messages, Justice Prathiba M Singh of Delhi High Court sought stand of the Centre and the Delhi government on a petition. The court asked these platforms as well as the Governments, GST Council and the National Medical Commission to file their response within six weeks.

Advocate Neeraj Grover, appearing for the petitioner, said while the members of the petitioner association are regulated, the aggregators are permitted to advertise their services, including diagnostic solutions, which causes prejudice to their professional interests.It said these aggregators were “enticing, making unsolicited calls for medical laboratory tests by corporate entities/Offline & Online Health service aggregators in blatant violation of prescribed Rules, Regulations & guidelines”.

The petition said “The corporate entities /Offline & Online health service aggregators are offering tests by incessant advertisements offering huge discounts/concessions/ offers/health checkups without any medical prescription by a Registered Medical Practitioner in blatant violation of column 2 point 2 of the Clinical Establishment Amendment Rules 2020,”.The petition further alleged that online health service aggregators are also violating Section 34 (1) (c) of The National Medical Commission Act, 2019 as the lab reports provided by such entities are not being actually authenticated by duly qualified medical practitioners.

Insisting that the petitioner should be treated at par with offline and online health service aggregators in terms of restrictive regulations for registered medical practitioners, it said, differential treatment of two entities offering similar services is a glaring violation of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution of India.The petition asserted the aggregators were causing unwarranted and irreparable harm on a daily basis to innocent patients by unwarranted soliciting in violation of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.

The plea argued the aggregators were blatantly avoiding the restrictions placed on registered medical practitioners while at the same time taking the benefit of exemption from GST for being in medical services causing huge revenue loss of hundreds of crores of rupees to the exchequer.”All respondents are directed to file their counter affidavits within six weeks. Contentions of all parties are left open,” said the court.The matter will be heard next on July 31.