I had throat infection and the doctor prescribed Meftal 250mg and Cefadrox 500mg. I went to the first medical shop where only Meftal was available and they gave me 6 tablets for 11.59rs. It was a Neethi medical shop and they gave me a bill.

There is a high need for bringing transparency in the medical sector. Then for the second tablet, I had to go to another medical shop and accidently bought the same Meftal Tablet. For the same amount of tablets, they asked me for 14rs and no bill was provided. The difference is almost 2rs for 6 tablets of Meftal. Now think about tablets that costs more thousands, how much will be the medical shops earning per day.

This is not the first time I have this experience. When I went to see a private doctor, he prescribed some medicines in a letter pad which had a title of a medical shop and asked me to buy medicines from the same of medical shop. How much will be the commission of that doctor per patient?
My uncle was hospitalized in Lourd hospital in Ernakulam.

He was suffering from high fever, BP and diabetes. They put him in ventilator [15000rs per day] for many days and prescribed very costly antibiotic medicines [usually 10000rs] which made two of the kidneys to fail. We don’t know whether they actually used these medicines as there was a basket cart going and coming from ventilator all the time.

 Even though there was no chance for survival they insisted to keep the patient in ventilator and kept on saying that there is a chance that he will be back, his eyes are moving, his legs are moving etc. The doctor kept on giving false expectations so that family will have hope and let the patient admitted in ventilator.

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Recently a book called 'Dissenting Diagnosis' by Dr. Arun Gadre, Dr. Abhay Shukla was published that talks about corruptive practices in Indian hospitals. In that the author explains that the lab technicians never administer the tests and they just throw the samples to waste bin and give a normal certificate. The hospital will charge the fee for all these tests. Sometime private hospitals change doctors according to the conversion ratio [number of patient seen v/s number of patients took tests].

Isn’t this high time to bring transparency to the medical profession and sector? 

Some suggestions are;

1. Print the cost of the medicines on the packet of tablet. This way people can see how much the MRP is.

2. The doctors should use letter pads with a stamp of the Medical Council of India (MCI).

3. There should be an efficient mechanism to complain against doctors who exploit patients

4. Insurance scheme that covers all family needs to create where government pays half and the user pays half.

5. The medical costs of all BPL families and economically backward classes needs to make free of cost in private and government hospitals.

6. More NGO’s needs to engage into the advocacy and social asudit of the hospitals.

7. Individuals need to take initiatives to file RTIs and actions to bring transparency to hospitals.

8. Creation of one cloud window for billing that bridge the payment details with government hospitals and private hospitals

9. Creation of one cloud window for patient that have prescribed medicine details and payment details which links with government hospitals and private hospitals

10. Numerous insurance schemes needs to be collated and provided according to the patient.

11. Strict M&E needs to be carried out by Government officials in all the hospitals.

12. The panchayath needs to be given authority to verify the records of the all the hospitals and find out issues.

13. A mechanism has to create to provide best and affordable medicines to patients.

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