University of California, Irvine partners with researchers and scientists in West Africa to examine the current policy of medical advertisement in Nigeria in an article titled “The Impact of medical tourism and the code of medical ethics on advertisement in Nigeria”. The article was recently published online ahead of print in the Pan African Medical Journal (http://www.panafrican-med-journal.com/content/article/19/103/full/).
Advances in management of clinical conditions are being made in several resource poor countries including Nigeria. Yet, the code of medical ethics which bars physician and health practices from advertising the kind of services they render deters these practices. Medical tourism is increasingly causing an imbalance in countries where physicians and health practices cannot advertise the kind of services they render.
A significant review of the medical advertisement ban in the Nigerian code of ethics is long overdue, as there are several benefits on lifting the ban. These include increased knowledge about advances in medical practice among physicians and the populace, the growing medical tourism industry, and the possibility of driving brain gain versus brain drain in the country.
Ethical issues, resistance to change and elitist ideas are factors working in the opposite direction and supporting the current medical advertisement ban. The repeal of the code of medical ethics against advertising will undoubtedly favor health facilities in the country that advertise medical services. A repeal or review of this code of medical ethics is necessary with specific rules and regulations on how medical advertisements can be performed.
Manuscript authors include Dr. Olusesan Makinde from MEASURE Evaluation/John Snow Inc. in Abuja, Dr. Brandon Brown from the UC Irvine Program in Public Health GHREAT Initiative, and Dr. Olalekan Olaleye from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lagoon Hospital Ikeja in Lagos.
Photo: Dr. Olusesan Makinde at MEASURE Evaluation/John Snow Inc.