Doctors to face ethical discipline

Doctors are to face strict penalties for accepting under-the-table payments from patients and maintaining illicit partnerships with pharmaceutical suppliers, according to a new code of ethics outlined in a draft law made public yesterday by the Health Ministry. Violators would face fines ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 euros or the revocation of their operating licenses for at least two years, with repeat offenders likely to lose their licenses for good. The bill also imposes a ban on the practices of cloning and euthanasia, as well as strict restrictions on the practice of all kinds of experimental medicine that is not sanctioned on an international level. Those deemed to have committed euthanasia or cloning experiments would also face the irrevocable loss of their licenses. However, the legislation also contains provisions aimed at protecting doctors from groundless allegations leveled against them, giving them the right to seek compensation for any material or moral damage they may have suffered. The bill also seeks to level the playing field for state and private sector doctors, dictating that all medical certificates and prescriptions are equally valid. The bill has been sent to the Panhellenic Medical Association and will be forwarded to all the country’s medical associations, which have 20 days to send back their comments, the ministry said.