Doctors many times sell off the letter of protection
to a third party, the institute argued.
The drug dealer was carrying a signed letter of protection
from General Mohammed Daud, the Deputy Minister of Interior responsible for counter narcotics, widely considered Afghanistan's most powerful anti-drug czar.
The bill also requires that if the doctor or health facility has sold the letter of protection to another party, that the jury be told the amount paid for that letter.
They said doctors would be less likely to provide care under a letter of protection because such cases usually require more paperwork and time away from a practice for depositions and trial testimony.
Jeff Scott, FMA general counsel, said it was unfair to compare charges in a letter of protection with what a healthcare provider receives from Medicare or from a private health insurance company.
The BRCPE, when it first brought the issue to the board in October, recommended approving the opinion but with an amendment saying attorneys could issue a letter of protection
. Board members were uncomfortable with that and asked the committee to revisit the issue.
While an initial draft of the opinion said the attorney at the client's request could issue a letter of protection to the funding company, the final opinion passed by the PEC said the attorney could not issue a letter of protection but could honor such a letter executed by the client on his or her own.
BRCPE Chair Richard Tanner reported that his committee was recommending restoring the letter of protection section to the advisory opinion.
Board member Chobee Ebbets said lawyers should not issue the letters of protection, arguing, "If I give a letter of protection to that company, I am buying into that....
Lawyers can tell their personal injury clients about "advance funding" options, but shouldn't become involved in evaluating such proposals or provide a letter of protection to such a lender, according to the Professional Ethics Committee.
Not addressed in earlier opinions, the committee said, was how an attorney could try to get help for a financially strapped client without becoming involved in the loan and whether the attorney could honor a letter of protection to a loan company.
The attorney may also sign or honor a letter of protection
to the finance company."