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Wednesday , March 29 2023

Ethics, medicine & advertising

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The Kuwait Medical Association was founded 60 years ago, and it seems that it has become weak over time. Despite the number of health violations that we are drowned in, whether in the form of misleading advertisements for clinics and medicines, or advertisements, and doctors performing operations, and their discoveries and inventions, however the voice of the association remained absent.

A well-known doctor and a senior university employee took a position in contravention of all the instructions of the Ministry of Health throughout the period of the Corona pandemic and promoted through his tweets the myth of the conspiracy and demanded his followers not to take vaccinations against the epidemic, and perhaps some listened to his advice and subsequently died.

An epidemiologist shared his position, albeit in a different way tweeted a lot, warning of the occurrence of frightening things, and subsequently it became clear that all his pessimistic expectations were wrong.

Another doctor, who is supposed to be old in the profession and active in the social media, recently tweeted, saying that Tamiflu, which treats influenza, is only available at the agent’s pharmacy, according to what they told him. Its price is 12 dinars, knowing that its price in Saudi Arabia is less than 8 dinars, and describing it as looting and monopoly.

When inquiring, it was found that the drug was available in pharmacies, but it ran out with the spread of the epidemic, and it is for bird flu, and not for regular flu, as the doctor mentioned and the medicine is available in sufficient quantities at the Ministry of Health, and he, as a doctor, can obtain it for free.

For information, no medicine is always available in all pharmacies, and not having it in a pharmacy does not mean that the agent is the monopolist.

Also, medicines are priced by the Ministry, not by the company and it is unfortunate if this doctor does not know this fact, and it is even more unfortunate if he knows it.

On the other hand, another doctor, insisting on addressing him as professor, announced that he had found a medical innovation to expand the neural tube, without surgery.

By contacting a friend and a doctor who specializes in back pain, working in a well-known American university hospital, he confirmed that what was stated in the announcement of a new technology is incorrect, as it has been known for more than a year, unless the professor added something to it, but this requires publicity and approval, and there is an indication in the approved websites, such as the National Library of Medicine, and the date of the last paper submitted by the professor dates back to 2012.

 What concerns us here is not the denial of his claim, as we may need one day for his beautiful services, but rather the necessity for every doctor who claims achieving a medical achievement to provide evidence to prove his words, and for the evidence to be registered, recognized is unprecedented.

It is also the role of the supervisory authorities such as Kuwait Medical Association which seems to have conceded such role by time to the Ministry of Health.

The streets are also filled with advertisements, some of which include misleading claims about implanting teeth within an hour, or performing surgeries without pain, the latest of which is the discovery by a Kuwaiti researcher of a new treatment for the prostate, and that he rejected an offer to sell it to an American company for $35 million, preferring to sell it online at a 50% discount.

Recently, the number of clinics or beauty and herbal treatment centers has increased, through which non-specialists and people with knowledge practice their activities.

We need stronger oversight from public benefit associations, such as the medical association, and official bodies, such as health, commerce and the Food Authority, over various advertisements and allegations.

We also ask them to tighten the application of professional ethics, which does not allow the doctor to announce his activities or achievements and this is what has become common, and among these are health ministers especially after WhatsApp and others have turned into misinformation tools with the spread of fraud and deception, which necessitates the need to intervene to establish controls related to professional ethics to limit the ugly exploitation of the minds of the naive, and even the smart ones.

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

By Ahmad alsarraf