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Medical law in Nepal: Know 3 major provisions

Nepal media regularly report many cases of medical negligence. Big and renowned hospitals have been dragged into controversies over the past few years following patients’ death, allegedly due to the negligence on the part of assigned doctors. Hence, what medical law in Nepal says about medical practices is interesting to discuss today.

The National Penal Code, 2017, provides laws relating to medical treatment. Below are some major provisions about medical law in Nepal.

1. Authority to conduct medical treatment

Section 230 of the National Penal Code, 2017, has prohibited any other person except those having acquired the specified educational qualification in medicine and obtained a licence from the lawful competent authority from practising medical treatment. However, a person who has gained knowledge on medical treatment from a long experience is not barred from administering, with due care, drugs of general nature, and caring for a patient suffering from a minor disease as not causing any specific adverse impact on any human organ of such patient, or conducting medical treatment by conducting the operation of a minor wound.

Any person who commits or causes to be committed the aforementioned offence shall be liable to a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding Rs 30,000. Further, the offender shall be liable to the sentence of imprisonment for life where any act of providing medical service, conducting surgery or administering drugs causes the death of any person, and to a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 years where such act causes grievous injuries.

2. Medical treatment with malicious intention and recklessness

It is prohibited to carry out treatment, with an intention of causing the death of or grievous injuries in, another person, or conduct one type of medical treatment of him or her instead of another type of treatment as required, or administer or prescribe for the administration of any drug to him or her knowingly or having a reason to believe that the administration or prescription of such drug may cause the death of, or grievous injury in, him or her or conduct surgery on one organ of the human body of him or her instead of another organ as required or make such organ dysfunctional or separate such organ from the human body, or cause the commission of any of such acts.

If anyone conducts the aforementioned act, he/she shall be liable to the following sentence:

  1. The same sentence as imposable for murder, in the case of causing the death of any person
  2. The same sentence as imposable for grievous injuries, in the case of causing grievous injuries in any person

Further, no one is authorised under law to conduct medical treatment shall, in conducting medical treatment of anyone, conduct such treatment, administer any drug or prescribe for the administration of the drug to him or her in a reckless manner, without taking adequate care or precaution.

Anyone found committing such act is liable to a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding Rs 50,000 if the death or grievous injury has been caused from a reckless act and to a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding Rs 30,000 if the death or grievous injury has been caused from a negligent act.

3. Prohibition of adulteration of drugs or sale of adulterated drugs

No one shall knowingly sell adulterated drugs in such a manner as to void or lessen or change the efficacy of such drug or make it noxious or sell such adulterated drug or any other thing saying that it is a drug or issue such drug or thing to anyone for treatment or administer, or cause to be administered, such drug to anyone.

Any person who commits the aforementioned offence shall be liable to the following sentences:

  1. The same sentence as imposable for murder, in the case of death caused from the consumption of such drugs
  2. The same sentence as imposable for attempted murder, in the case of danger or likelihood of danger to cause death caused from the consumption of such drugs
  3. A sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and a fine not exceeding Rs 100,000, in the case of any grievous injury or deterioration or deprivation of power of any organ of the body caused from the consumption of such drug,
  4. A sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding Rs 50,000 in cases other than that referred above

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Regmi is an advocate associated with Associates Hub Law Firm.

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