Medical ethics in this country is non-existent. Corruption is rampant and the MCI, which is meant to control unhealthy practices closes its eyes to this menace. And Dr Harsh Vardhan, the union minister for health & family welfare seems has shown the rare honesty to admit it
“Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it.” -Samuel Johnson
Dear Dr Harsh Vardhan,
I was thrilled to read your measured opinion on our institutions that are supposed to be the guardians of medical education and research. No minister in the past had the honesty to admit that both the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the drug regulatory authority are not just corrupt but are “dens of corruption and snake pits full of poisonous snakes”. These statements can come only from an authentic human being like you.
Honest and humane doctor that you are, you have understood the situation correctly and had the courage to call a spade spade. May God be with you to clean up their stables with help from PM Narendra Modi. Someday this had to happen and the sooner it does the better for the poor patients and students.
There is no point in blaming individuals. Anyone else in that position would do the same thing with the corrupt system that is in place. Corruption can never be one sided. Unless there are dishonest people wanting to get illegal things done by these licensing bodies as I might like to call them there will be their match in these bodies. I remember the time when Dr CP Thakur wanted to clean up the system and had asked me to get into MCI up. I pleaded with him that one man cannot do anything. The people in charge moved heaven and earth to see that I did not get in there. Little did they realise that I had declined the offer in the first place! You might fault me for running away from the responsibility and for not standing up to their might. In our so called democratic set up it is the numbers that count. Once, a God's good man, who was the Vice Chairman, contested against the mighty forces and poor man got probably only his vote; 99% voted against him.
Even the Supreme Court failed in their effort. They appointed an army General but nothing happened and in the end as the vested interests won. What we need are very effective new laws that govern these watchdog bodies. Dental Council of India (DCI) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) are no exceptions. In fact, they are competing with one another to see who gets the first rank in dubious practices. But the problem will be to get honest authentic men and women to man these bodies.
The present law makes corruption easy with half the number of members being political appointees from States and the rest medical politicians whose only aim is to get into these bodies to “control" them for money and power. They have very little idea about medical education or even research. I think as a stop gap arrangement, the government could call for applicants for the job with minimum qualification and their details should be in public domain for at least six months before they are selected to be in these bodies. In the meantime, well-meaning citizens would put forward their opinions about the candidates.
May be many a time adverse comments are posted to prevent good people from getting selected. Anyone who posts an adverse comment should be able to prove the allegation with solid proof. The system might look cumbersome but we have no choice.
The next abetters of corruption in this game are the inspectors who go round from college to college to assess them. Now they are selected by the powerful people at random, mostly their own chelas who will do their bid for a price! This should end. One could prepare a country wide list of honest teachers to be inspectors and again their details must be available for public scrutiny following the same guidelines as above. This group of 100-150 all India inspectors must be a reserve force. As and when the need arises, the needed number could be drawn only from that list. This will avoid bad elements again. I am sure this country has many, many honest and good hearted teachers, who cannot be corrupted easily.
In addition, there should be a small group of censors who periodically counter check the inspection details at random. The inspections should not be intimated in advance to the colleges. It must be only surprise inspection and the expenses must be borne by the institutions concerned even the government ones. The inspectors should not take any hospitality, even transport from the colleges. The Councils should bear all that. To compensate for that, hefty fees could be levied on the institutions. They make tons of money anyway. It is common knowledge that anywhere between Rs2-Rs4 crore changes hands for a single post-graduate (PG) seats under the table but the powers that be pretend not to know that. How long can this go on and at what cost to the future generation of doctors? If they start their lives with corruption they will naturally be inhuman doctors out to make up for the huge loss to their parents.
Corruption in ‘Research’
Research organisations are another story. They are also hot beds of corruption. Each one is trying to pat the other on the back for grant disbursement and other favours. Most of them probably do not see the relevance of need based research for our country. Most research is repetitive and many times copycat studies are done wasting the precious tax payers' money with no advantage to the common man.
We need refutative research to demolish many myths in Medical field. Our thrust must be to find inexpensive methods of treatment and not copy the top heavy industry friendly western research. Research should be able to prioritise our needs-the main areas being malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality prevention, communicable diseases still leading the death list, and adverse drug reactions- a curse from the western medical research followed blindly.
While it has been the mother of most alternate systems of medicine with Ayurveda in the forefront, our main line researchers still have a holier than thou attitude towards that and we still do not have strong research base for alternate medicines in the country although AYUSH is apparently trying to do something.
In the area of research, we should have men and women who have the ability to unlearn what they have learnt and relearn again the right methods. Even the framers of the American Constitution had said that there should be “right to health and medical treatment” lest at a future date one system should monopolise the area at the cost of other systems. That idea did not find favours even then. The result today is for all to see.
In the West, of course, followed by us the servants of the western thoughts, western medicine has taken as strong root here in India. Many of our leaders in the field of medicine and of course, politics, think with their western or western style education that all other systems are not "scientific" and have been able to convince our masses, especially the literate ones. This has been our biggest curse.
Most illnesses, barring those needing emergency treatments, could very well be managed by some of the alternate systems of medicine in vogue. Most all of them could be validated using the western standards before being let loose on the people if desired. In fact, Dr Shiv Ayyadurai, an ethnic Indian researcher at MIT, Boston has shown that Ayurveda and Sidha systems of India have a better science base compared to western reductionist medical science!This alone will bring down our sickness care costs to manageable limits.
Medical ethics in this country is non-existent. Corruption is rampant in medical practice and the MCI, which is primary meant to control unhealthy practice in the country closes its eyes to this menace. Practising doctors do not have any periodic ability assessment, neither is there a proper continued professional development activity for them. All these, and more, need to be looked into in detail, Mr Minister. I cannot put more details here but am ready to give further inputs should the need arise. Let us usher in a new era in medical education, research, and medical practice under your able guidance. The country will remember you for eons if you do that. Go ahead, the country is with you.
“Fraud is the daughter of greed.” - Jonathan Gash,
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London.)
Gurgaon-based owner's association had alleged that DLF imposed highly arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable conditions on allottees of apartments, which had serious adverse effects and ramifications on the rights of the buyers
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, while upholding order from the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CompAT), asked DLF to pay a penalty of Rs630 crore in three months for unfair trade practices.
The company will have to pay Rs50 crore within three weeks, while the remaining will have to be paid within thee months. DLF will also have to submit an undertaking of interest of 9% on the penalty amount.
DLF had earlier moved the Supreme Court against the CompAT order which had upheld the ruling by Competition Commission of India imposing the penalty on the company for unfair business practices.
In 2011, the CCI had found DLF violating fair trade norms and imposed the said penalty on a complaint filed by the owners’ association of a DLF project, the Belaire Owners’ Association, in Gurgaon.
The association had alleged that DLF imposed highly arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable conditions on allottees of apartments, which had serious adverse effects and ramifications on the rights of the buyers.
Dismissing DLF's plea against the fine imposed by the Competition Commission of India, the tribunal had given the company 60 days to pay the penalty or approach the Supreme Court. DLF had then said that it would move the Supreme Court on the matter.
According to the apex court, PM and CMs should not consider people with criminal antecedents and against whom charges have been framed in serious offences, including corruption, for appointment as ministers
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said Prime Minister and Chief Ministers should desist from
including people as ministers against whom criminal and corruption charges have been framed.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha, however, stopped short of prescribing disqualification for such people from becoming ministers, leaving it to the wisdom of the PM and CMs not to recommend such names to the President and Governor.
Observing that it cannot add disqualification in Article 75 (1) (appointment of PM and Council of Ministers), the Bench, however, said that the PM and CMs should not consider people with criminal antecedents and against whom charges have been framed in serious offences, including corruption, for appointment as ministers.
It further said that the Constitution reposes immense trust in the PM and CMs and they are expected to act with constitutional responsibility and morality.
It said that the PM has been regarded repository of constitutional trust and he should act in national interest.
“We are saying nothing more, nothing less and it is left on the wisdom of the PM to decide,” the Bench said, adding this is also applicable to CMs. PM and CMs will be well advised not to include such people in their ministry, it said.
The Bench passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking its direction restraining the Centre and State governments from appointing people with criminal background as ministers.
The Bench also comprising justices Dipak Misra, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and SA Bobde passed unanimous verdict in the matter with two judges giving separate opinions.