A recent assault on the junior doctors in Kolkata created a stir in the nation, leading to protests by the doctors and activists unequivocally demanding safety and justice. However, ironically, not too long ago, a study by the Harvard University revealed that nearly 5 million deaths in India take place due to unethical medical practice — an account of lack of practical knowledge among medical staff and their inability to handle the patients in critical conditions. This leads to the patient’s helplessness and uncertainty when undergoing a treatment at the hospital.
And while the nation righteously stood united against the attacks on doctors—- an epitome of our empathy with the scenario. The same unprecedented support somehow remains absent or receives lukewarm response when the patients die due to medical malpractices. This gives picture of lack of seriousness and initiatives in the healthcare sector. More often than not, patients are at the receiving end of poor infrastructure, lack of facilities, drugs, with misbehavior, under treatment and over- priced treatment forming an essential part of the contemporary medical culture.
That considered, the vile transactional nature of pharma has been exposed by investigations into healthcare and pharma industry with scoops on hospital malpractices and medicine dilution.
These incidents of the past make one question the authenticity with which the pharmaceutical companies function. There are many such Indian drug makers which are named in the recent US lawsuit. Amongst them, Wockhardt, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Aurobindo Pharam are some of the pharmaceutical companies which are at present facing civil penalties due to illicit drug trade.
One of the most famous pharmaceutical failures of the recent times has been exposed via Katherine Eban’s “Bottle of Lies” — describing how Indian consumers in general have been a victim of the plaguing drug regulators of India. In the year 2004, Dinesh Thakur, discovered dirty secrets related to Ranbaxy pharmaceutical company as it had been indulging in fabricating the test results of its drugs, endangering millions of patients. It was for these disasters that the Ranbaxy Laboratories were also admitted in an American court for selling adulterated drugs.
According to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), there have been over 1,990 cases of overcharging customers between the year 1997 and 2019. It is due to such background that pharmacy or medical sector in general has been receiving a lot of flak around the globe. There rises a need for investigation as it continues to make matters worse for the patients— putting them at high risk. If strong measures are not taken then in all likelihood the pharmacy business may continue to rake mullahs without affecting the health.