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India’s private healthcare sector treats patients as revenue generators

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (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}

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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