01/06/2015 07:53 EST | Updated 03/08/2015 05:59 EDT

Quebec doctors no longer allowed to benefit from prescriptions

Quebec doctors will no longer be allowed to benefit financially from prescribing medication, devices and testing, according to new ethics rules from the Collège des médecins.

The new rules are part of the Collège’s revised code of ethics, which takes effect Jan. 7.

They are meant to prevent doctors from being influenced by third parties in prescribing care to their patients.

However, this particular change in the code will only begin in earnest on July 7, 2015.

In an addendum to the new code of ethics meant to explain the changes, the Collège outlines several new guidelines to, as it says, better protect the public.

They are also designed to "preserve [doctors'] professional independence" and to avoid financial motives from entering into doctors' evaluation of a patient.

Among the new rules:

- Doctors are prohibited from receiving a financial benefit other than his or her salary for prescribed medication, devices or tests — whether directly, indirectly or through a company he or she controls. (To take effect July 7, 2015.)

- A doctor who offers a private lab service in which he/she or a relative is a shareholder cannot benefit financially when guiding patients toward using the lab service.

- Regarding doctors who directly contributed to the development of a medical product: It would be impossible to prevent them from receiving financial benefits and the Collège doesn’t want to discourage doctors from participating in research. The new rules therefore stipulate that a doctor in this position has the obligation to tell their patients about their commercial interest in the products they are prescribing.