healthcare workers

Doctors in pyramid schemes? DOH reminds medical professionals of ethical code

Kaycee Valmonte

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Doctors in pyramid schemes? DOH reminds medical professionals of ethical code
'Medical professionals are expected to uphold professional and ethical standards,' says Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) emphasized the “unethical” nature of medical professionals accepting gifts and any form of profit from biopharmaceutical companies after doing them certain favors.

On Monday, April 23, the DOH released Department Circular 2024-0141 outlining ethical codes for medical professionals prescribing products to patients. The circular comes after reports of doctors allegedly taking part in a pyramid scheme and profiting off of the medicine they prescribe.

“Medical professionals are expected to uphold professional and ethical standards,” Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said.

“Societal pressures, financial gains, and administrative exigencies shall not compromise the rights of the patient to quality healthcare services,” he added.

Over the weekend, Philippine STAR columnist Alex Magno wrote about a pharmaceutical company that allegedly acts like a multi-level marketing company for doctors by doctors. Those at the bottom of the pyramid allegedly receive payment in the form of cash, plane tickets, and luxury vehicles, while those at the top receive a fraction of profits from drug companies they work with.

Magno said the doctors in the scheme also allegedly have their patients pay for more expensive medicine to cover their treatment. On top of this, patients are advised to also take supplements from the same drug company.

Doctors are only allowed to prescribe medicine based on scientific data and pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to engage medical workers to promote their products.

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Physicians in the country and all over the world follow several regulations for their professions and a code of ethics is among them.

The DOH also cited Section 7 of Republic Act No. 6713 which does not allow those working under public trust to accept any favors that may influence them in doing their jobs. – Rappler.com

1 comment

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  1. ET

    This is an internal conflict of the Code of Ethics versus Money. Which of these two will Doctors choose?

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