Views & Reviews Personal View

India’s private healthcare sector treats patients as revenue generators

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h826 (Published 24 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h826
  1. Arun Gadre, gynaecologist, Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives, Plot 140, Flats 3 and 4, Aman E Terrace, Dahanukar Colony, Pune, Maharashtra 411029, India
  1. drarun.gadre{at}gmail.com

Irrational drug prescribing, kickbacks for referrals, and unnecessary investigations and surgical procedures are common in India. Arun Gadre interviewed 78 doctors and has published their shocking testimonies of corruption in a recent book. Here he reflects on his findings

To find out about malpractice in India’s private healthcare sector, I recorded, with their consent, face to face interviews with 77 doctors, and I interviewed one doctor by email. They came from the cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune or from towns in Maharashtra. Given the sensitive subject I began with some doctors I knew well (I ran my own small maternity home for 20 years as a private gynaecologist) and approached many more. The doctors I interviewed and colleagues in the People’s Health Movement, India, a nationwide network of doctors and grass roots activists, referred more doctors to me who wanted to share their experiences. No one I asked refused an interview. These doctors represented almost all specialties, from a small town GP with a degree in homeopathy to a superspecialist in a corporate hospital. Some of the doctors did not have private practices but had close knowledge of the sector. …

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