Major international media groups across Europe and USA have focused in the recent time on the pervasive healthcare corruption in India. Times of India (TOI) today has carried a report entitled, “Healthcare corruption in India hits international headlines” summarizing the stories on Indian medical corruption around the globe (see TOI news below). While top international medical journal, “British Medical Journal” (BMJ), have been reporting on corruption in Indian medicine over the past several months, the latest revelation about the pitiful status of Indian medicine was made in an eye-catching story last week by National Public Radio (NPR) focusing on the legendary fight against medical negligence and healthcare corruption by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha.
Sitting on top of all corruption episodes inside Indian healthcare system is the sordid tale of disgraced, ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai. Caught red-handed by CBI while taking bribe from a private medical college in 2010, Dr. Desai is still running Indian medical education and regulatory system sitting behind the curtain. While free on bail waiting for trial in several criminal cases facing serious charges for bribery and corruption, top leaders in MCI and Indian Medical Association (IMA) have been acting brazenly to restore Desai’s tainted public image. Last December, Desai was given the highest honor by IMA as he inaugurated their national medical conference in Ahmedabad with the newly appointed health minister, Mr. J.P. Nadda, sitting next to him. Doctors and Desai supporters like Dr. Ajay Kumar and Dr. Vinay Aggarwal with dubious background continue to occupy highest posts in MCI and IMA despite scathing findings of “unethical” behavior by the central vigilance officer (CVO). Instead of taking cognizance of CVO reports and taking appropriate disciplinary action against the delinquent MCI/IMA leaders, the CVOs were harassed and removed from MCI. Many patients from foreign countries come to India every year seeking cheaper treatment making “medical tourism” a booming business for the country. But the rot in Indian medical system has now started to show up in the foreign countries. BJP government came to power on the promise to fight “corruption”. But until now, there is absolutely no sign that Modi-government’s anti-corruption promise even made any attempt to fix the rot in medicine. The BJP government can no longer continue to look away at the pervasive healthcare corruption. If they do, it will only be at their own peril.