July 25, 2014
Derek O`Brien raises the issue of corruption in private health care sector in Rajya Sabha
Trinamool MP Derek O`Brien today raised asensitive issue of corruption in private health care sector. He said that it isan open secret that laboratories, radiology clinics and other institutionsoffer doctors commissions and kickbacks for the act of referring apatient. The amount of commission is ashigh as 30- 50%. The full speech was laid on the table of the House.
Textof the full speech:
Sir, it is an open secret that laboratories, radiology clinics and otherinstitutions offer doctors commissions and kickbacks for the act of referring apatient. The amount of commission is ashigh as 30- 50%. This deplorable practice encourages doctors to send patientsfor unnecessary tests, increases the cost of health care and reduces thequality of outcomes.
The Code of Ethics Regulations laid down bythe Medical Council of India, forbids fee splitting or accepting of commissionsby doctors. The code has, in recent, years been amended to make stricter rulesagainst doctors receiving benefits in any form from drug and implant makers.However, rarely is action taken against offending doctors and institutions.
While there is a regulation that prohibitsdoctors from receiving commissions from other doctors or diagnosticlaboratories, this regulation does not cover private hospitals. It is a commonpractice for institutions running high tech and high cost investigations andtreatments to offer incentives to doctors who refer patients to them. They arefree to pay doctors openly and even treat such payments as business expensesfor income tax purposes.
The rampant corruption in Indian privatehealth care has recently sparked a debate in the British Medical Journal aswell. However, the MCI and the Ministry of Health have been slow in taking upthe issue. I strongly urge theGovernment to take urgent steps to declare all commissions in health careillegal and create a strong deterrent against such practices.