Physicians referring patients to a ...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Physicians referring patients to a particular medical facility in return for a fee


d request no. 534 for the year 2010 which includes the following:
I am the CEO of an imaging center. Internists and surgeons refer their patients to our center, hence, our real clients are the referring physicians. Lately, most imaging and medical testing centers have begun paying physicians salaries, commissions or presenting them with gifts to refer patients to their facilities. In effect, there are scores of similar facilities that offer the same services with the same efficiency to which physicians can refer their patients.
I would like to know whether this kind of transaction between the imaging centers and the referring physicians is permissible in Islamic law.


It is impermissible for physicians to contravene the ethics of their profession. Based on this, their foremost concern must be honesty when entrusted with the health of their patients and when offering them advice. Physicians must direct their patients to what is most beneficial in terms of medical and cost saving treatments. It is impermissible for the interests of the physicians to supersede those of their patients, otherwise they would be legally blameworthy. This is because they are advisers on medical matters; the Prophet said, "An adviser must be trustworthy" [recorded by Imam Ahmed, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and others].

A patient may decide either to follow or not follow his physician's referral to a particular facility for any reason except if he trusts him and is not burdened [unnecessarily]. In short, the physician must have his patients' absolute interests in mind and make them his foremost priority.

Article 8 of the professional code of ethics established by the Minister of Health and Population, decree 238/2003 states the following: "No physician shall do any of the following... ask for or accept remuneration or salary of any kind in return for promising to prescribe or for prescribing medicine or particular equipments for patients or for referring them to hospitals, medical institutes, nursing facilities, pharmacies, particular imaging and testing centers or sell medical requirement products or samples."

The ruling
The transaction mentioned in the question is impermissible.
Allah the Almighty knows best.


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