time a doctor refers you for a scan or a test to a particular diagnostic
centre, chances are he is getting a fat commission from there. As diagnostic
centres mushroom all over the country, the noble practitioners in white
make money at the expense of patients they are meant to heal. Aman
Khanna took up a job as a representative in two such centres in
the Capital to unravel a flourishing malpractice in which big bucks bind
corrupt doctors and greedy businessmen. His report
This is a travesty tale.
Those who are meant to cure have become the disease. Or, perhaps, epidemic
is a better word to use. For here’s a malaise that has spread far
and wide across the country and is slowly bleeding it. Doctors in Delhi
and Mumbai and Kolkata, in Guwahati and Dehradun and Kochi, in Vadodara
and in Karimnagar, are making easy dirty money at the expense of unsuspecting
They are daily besmirching their oath, they are daily smearing their white
coats. They are making unethical profits. You are the one that’s losing
— money, peace of mind, in some cases even health. They are sending
you to diagnostic centres even when you donn’t require tests done
because they are in a money-nexus with laboratory operators. The doctor
prescribes unnecessary tests, the diagnostic centre fills its till, the
doctor gets his cut, you end up a loser.
This is not new, of course, but if you thought you know everything about
it, read on.
This is not about your neighbourhood private doctor alone. This is not about
a few malefactors here and there either. The malady is much more widespreasd.
So widespread, there is no escaping it. Government hospitals and dispensaries,
private hospitals, and individual practitioners big and small —- doctors
everywhere are getting fat envelopes under their tables courtesy prescriptions
they write to diagnostic centres..
The arithmetic is simple: each time a doctor refers a patient to a diagnostic
centre where he has struck a deal, he is given a percentage of the sum paid
by the patient. In the case of an mri, it is 40 percent; for a ct scan,
he gets 30 percent. Thus, an mri that costs Rs 5,000 to the patient brings
Rs 2,000 to the doctor; a ct scan gets him Rs 1,000.
August 28, 2004
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