The World Medical Association, the leading international medical-ethics body, said it will look into “a number of questions” raised by a Reuters investigation of the organization’s future president.
Earlier, Reuters reported that the WMA is standing behind Indian urologist Dr. Ketan Desai, who is scheduled to assume its presidency in 2016, even as he faces criminal allegations in two cases in Indian courts. He denies any wrongdoing.
Desai was first elected president of the WMA in 2009 but his inauguration, originally slated for 2010, was suspended after he was arrested on allegations that he was involved in a conspiracy to obtain a bribe from a medical college. In 2013, the WMA decided to lift the suspension after receiving assurances from the Indian Medical Association that all charges against Desai in India had been withdrawn.
Desai is a former president of the Indian Medical Association. He is accused in both legal cases of committing crimes while serving as president of the Medical Council of India, which regulates the country’s medical schools. He stepped down in 2010.
Shortly after the story was published, the WMA issued a statement to Reuters. “We take this article very seriously,” the organization said. “It raises a number of questions we have to discuss with the Indian Medical Association and that is what we shall now do.”
Nigel Duncan, a WMA spokesman, said the organization planned to contact the Indian Medical Association “fairly imminently” about Reuters findings.
An official with the Indian Medical Association could not be reached for comment.
The WMA sets ethical standards for physicians worldwide and represents millions of doctors in more than 100 countries. Known for its pioneering work in ethics, its members include the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association.
The full Reuters report on Desai can be read here.