Punishing doctors employed by slimming companies who wrongly give out weight-loss drugs is not the best way to protect patients from potentially dangerous prescriptions, the lawmaker for the medical sector said yesterday. A better strategy would be to create a special licence for the industry, he said. The call by Kwok Ka-ki came after the Medical Council on Sunday found Siu Ting-wing guilty of professional misconduct for prescribing an inappropriate slimming drug to a teenager, who then had suicidal thoughts during mood swings. The doctor's name was removed from the General Register for 10 months. Sha Tin's Be A Lady Medical Centre, where he worked, had no comment about the incident. After the hearing, the chairwoman of the medical council, Felice Lieh Mak, reminded people that weight-loss medicine should be prescribed by registered medical practitioners and warned the public to keep records in case follow-up action was needed. She also said doctors should not allow commercial factors to affect their care for patients. Dr Kwok said that while doctors should be penalised for professional misconduct, it would not get to the root of the problem. 'A slimming company can hire another doctor easily when one of them was fired,' he said. 'If the slimming companies are not checked, the problem will never be solved.' He suggested the government create a new licensing system for the industry. At present, the companies are only required to register for a standard business licence and are not subject to any special laws. Medical Association chairman Tse Hung-hing agreed, saying a new law was needed for slimming companies because the regulations for doctors were not enough. 'I am not saying doctors have no responsibility for the unscrupulous dealings of slimming companies. But many doctors do not know the problem at the companies when they join.' He said some doctors had complained that weight-loss companies ordered potentially dangerous drugs using their name and without them knowing. 'There is undoubtedly constant commercial considerations in our industry because we have to make an income,' Dr Tse said. 'But we must always follow our guidelines to put the patients' interests first.' He urged doctors, especially younger ones, to be more vigilant when they were hired by slimming companies or beauty salons. A Consumer Council spokeswoman said the public should try to learn more about the treatment offered by the slimming companies before consulting them.