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World Medical Association’s tainted president, Ketan Desai

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 10 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5867
  1. Sunil Pandya, neurosurgeon1,
  2. Sanjay Nagral, gastrointestinal surgeon1,
  3. Samiran Nundy, gastrointestinal surgeon2
  1. 1Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai, India
  2. 2Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to: S Nundy snundy{at}

New appointment raises questions from India’s medical profession

In the not too distant past, Indian doctors suspected the ethical principles of the country’s medical council, but they always respected those of the World Medical Association (WMA). After all, the WMA, formed on 18 September 1947—barely a month after India gained independence—represented 27 national medical associations, all of which were of solid repute.

Unfortunately, the WMA’s standing has fallen under a cloud with the recent inauguration of Ketan Desai, an Indian urologist, as its president on 21 October 2016.1 The organisation that produced the Declarations of Helsinki and Tokyo now has at its helm an individual who stands accused of involvement in a conspiracy in 2010, whereby he allegedly accepted a bribe of Rs20m ($450 000; £320 000 at the time).2 Desai denies the accusation. This put an end to Desai’s nomination as president of the WMA in 2010, when …

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