The Maharashtra government is working on framing a legislation, which will make the alleged “cut/commission practice” among doctors — referring patients to other medical practitioners and laboratories for tests — a criminal offence, an official said.
If this happens, Maharashtra will be the first state to pass such a law, the official added.
The law and judiciary department is examining the draft bill, which is likely to be tabled during the Budget session of the state Legislature, slated to be held in February next year.
“As per the provisions of the draft bill, if the allegations of taking commission are proved, the accused will face a jail term of up to two years and penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh,” the official said.
Taking a commission to refer a patient to another doctor or for pathology tests is known as the “cut practice”.
“Prescribing the medicines of a particular pharma company for monetary gains is also a part of it,” the official said.
If the law comes into force, a patient will be able to lodge a complaint against the doctor or the hospital concerned. For a first-time offender, there is a penal provision of one-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000.
A repeat offence will attract a two-year prison term and a fine of Rs one lakh. Also, the licence of the doctor or hospital would be cancelled, the official said.
State Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan said the common people stood to benefit the most if the law was passed.
“The medical expenses will come down. The draft bill is ready and the government plans to introduce it in the Budget session,” he said.