Pune: Members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have expressed sadness and anger over the comments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in London.
In his speech, ‘Bharat Ki Baat Sabke Sath’, Modi mentioned expensive treatment at private medical facilities and that private doctors charge exorbitant fees for stents and knee transplants.
Reacting to the statement, IMA National President Dr Ravi Wankhedkar claimed that Indian doctors have brought international acclaim and repute due to their world-class proficiency and skill. Engaging in small talk and maligning the entire medical fraternity in India with broad brush on foreign soil was certainly not expected from the Prime Minister, he said.
“The health system of the country would collapse without Indian doctors. The IMA expresses its displeasure on these unfortunate remarks. We presume this is in no way connected with our resistance to the pro-rich NMC Bill 2017.
Doctors of this country are being suppressed and exploited by every means possible. The onus of the mess in healthcare squarely falls on the successive governments, including the present ruling party,” said Dr Wankhede.
Echoing similar sentiments, Dr RN Tandon, Honourary Secretary General of the IMA, said the IMA has declared its support for use of generic drugs. The only hitch is the issue of quality assurance.
“The current level of quality testing by the government is less than one per cent of the total drugs manufactured. In such a state of affairs, how can doctors betray the confidence of patients and support the populist posturing of the government?” said Dr Tandon.
The office-bearers of the IMA questioned the government allowing huge profit margins in the pharmaceutical industry. “Why is a pharma company allowed to price the same drug categorised under different names with different profit margins?,” they said.
IMA Maharashtra President Dr YS Deshpande said the medical infrastructure of the country continues to be in the doldrums, with the present government decreasing spends on healthcare.
“The IMA has always maintained the policy of ‘One company, one drug, one price’, which has been neglected by the Centre. Our stand on stent price capping incorporates the right of the patient to choose a stent. The derogatory remarks made by the Prime Minister not only dents the image of honest doctors, but also provides a fertile ground for constant friction in the doctor-patient relationship,” said Dr Deshpande.