In 1992, eight doctors known for their eminence in ethical practice and concern for the public health system established a panel on the platform of Forum for Medical Ethics (FME) and contested the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) elections. By sending out a letter to all doctors in Maharashtra and by using the media for creating public awareness on the role and responsibilities of the Medical Councils, the FME strove to bring the implementation of medical ethics to the centre of the debate in the election. The FME ensured that votes for the members of its panel were voluntarily sent through mail by each voter on his/her own in the postal ballot system used for the elections at that time. The group also witnessed massive rigging of the elections by the candidate-doctors supported by money power and politics. The electoral malpractices were documented in detail by the group, and presented to the Mumbai High Court in a PIL and also communicated widely through the first newsletter, entitled “Medical Ethics”, published in August 1993.
Medical Ethics found wider support from the profession and the public, and was brought out every three months and gradually expanded its scope. When it applied for registration as a journal with the Registrar of Newspapers, New Delhi, it was provided a new title, and so from January 1996, it was brought out as Issues in Medical Ethics. Later, when the Registrar of Newspapers accepted our application for the change in name, the journal started coming out as Indian Journal of Medical Ethics from January 2004.
Since its inception in 1993, the following have served with dedication as the editors of the journal:
- Sunil K. Pandya (1993-99)
- Arun Bal (2000-02)
- Samiran Nundy (2003-04)
- Sanjay Pai (Acting) (2005)
- George Thomas (2005-2011)
- Amar Jesani (2012 onwards)