HC seeks response from Govt on health sector

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Nov 7: High Court today directed the Government to respond to the amicus curie on deficiencies and other lacunas in Health sector in the State.
The Division Bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the State Counsel M I Dar to respond to the said response filed by the amicus in which various insufficiencies and lacunas in the health section in the State have been pointed out.
Court was hearing suo moto cognizance of report of newspapers under caption “Medical Corruption” in which the corruption has been highlighted by one G S Grewal in his open letter to the Prime Minister as exorbitantly priced drugs, cuts and commission to referring doctors and referring patients for diagnostic tests and medical examination without the actual need.
He while writing to PM had observed that there is urgent need to purge the health care system to make it affordable and urged for legislating a strong law with its strict implementation which alone can act as strong deterrent against  the ‘medical corruption, cheating and fraud.
In  his letter to PM, which was carried thereafter by newspapers, he further stated that in absence of a strong law, desperate and helpless patients will continue to get exploit, fleeced and even stripped of their possessions, earnings and savings.
“Based on the letter of Garewal further said that in India every year three crore people are believed to ‘slip below poverty line’, after spending their savings and earnings on selling off their assets for medical treatment which may or may no cure them of their diseases and ailments”, read the report.
Amicus Altaf Haqani in his response submitted that despite the regulatory provisions (Indian Medical Council Act) it is invariably noticed that no medical record are being maintained by the Physicians pertaining to their indoor patients.
He further added that the physicians while writing their prescription do not display their registration number and do not prescribe the drugs in their generic names. To the contrary, the drugs are prescribed by the physicians in the brand names of various pharmaceutical companies, as a result the drugs are not available to the consumers on uniform rates.
“The said course has also lead to corrupt, dishonest or unethical conduct on part of members of the profession receiving gifts, gratuity, commission or bonus in consideration of prescribing the medical treatment, thereby betraying the duty towards their patients”, read the response.
Citing the compliance report of State in which it has been submitted various steps in the field of medical treatment and care have been reflected.  Amicus, however, submitted that no details on the side of implementation of any such measures have been indicated even though authorities have not indicated the details of implementation of free drug policy or as to when free diagnostics policy is to be implemented in the peripheral health institutions.
“It is learnt that for administering the diagnostic policy, each basic health centre at the block level in the State has been provided with ultra sonic machines by making huge investments. It is also learnt that for operations of such machines, no technically qualified staff has been provided”, reports said.
In the absence of such staff, amicus Stated, the machines are operated by unqualified technicians which has its own direct impact on the quality of the reports of health status of the patients, resulting in forcing the patients to opt for the relevant tests from the open market.
It is further said that the State have referred to setting up of J&K MPCL, without disclosing its budget and quality of medicines and scheme of supplies of drugs to the Hospitals. The respondents have as well not indicated any details of health insurance under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, covering BPL category of the population. Though it is been mentioned that the pricing of stents has been regulated, yet, no details of implementation thereof have been mentioned.
Government, the petitioner prayed, be directed to provide the details of implementation of various provisions of law as also the schemes undertaken for welfare of health care.
Court after going through the news report observed that this court as a responsible Constitutional authority and to uphold and preserve the Constitutional rights of a sizeable section of population embedded in particular in Article 21 of the constitution of India cannot shut its eyes and abdicate the Constitutional duty but has to stand up to safeguard the legal and Constitutional rights of large section of population most of whom cannot not afford to approach this court.
It is also highlighted that there is ‘massive difference’ in the actual price of medicines and the MRP mentioned in the packet of drugs the difference is as much as 500% and at times even more.
“In view of above referred circumstances, the medical treatment has become very expensive rather unaffordable for majority of population across the country”, court said while taking suo moto cognizance of the matter.