ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Medical Ethics : Water War

Water War The water wars, predicted to be the idiom of the new century, appear to be already upon us. Or at least the health and food sector would say so. Not so long ago, when a long-standing Indian soft drink manufacturer sold out to a foreign major saying that the money was now in the bottled water sector, it may not have made much sense. But today, with bottled water

The water wars, predicted to be the idiom of the new century, appear to be already upon us. Or at least the health and food sector would say so. Not so long ago, when a long-standing Indian soft drink manufacturer sold out to a foreign major saying that the money was now in the bottled water sector, it may not have made much sense. But today, with bottled water's rapidly expanding market, we may well be entering a period of sharp trade wars on that front.

The new entrant Kinley, a Coca Cola company product, has queered the pitch by drawing a medical professional association, the Federation of Family Physicians Associations of India (FFPAI), to endorse its products in its advertising. Kinley, however, had not reckoned with the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The IMA took a moral stand on the issue, saying that it was unethical on the part of a medical association to endorse a product in a public advertisement. Admittedly, its by-laws do have clauses preventing 'unethical' advertising by medical personnel. But why the IMA chose to make that statement and not at the same time start proceedings against the association is a mystery. Or perhaps it isn't. Because the company, sent a legal notice demanding that the IMA withdraw its statement, adding for good measure that the IMA's response was simply a case of sour grapes, because the company had chosen the FFPAI over the IMA for the endorsement. Kinley's lawyers have pointed out that the company had approached the IMA and the FFPAI for discussions on the endorsement, but had preferred the latter because it "suits the image of Kinley".

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