Over capitalisation has become the bane of modern medicine. High cost does not mean better care, Lok Satta president and former IAS officer Jayaprakash Narayan has said.

Addressing members of the Indian Medical Association at the platinum jubilee celebration of its Vijayawada chapter here on Sunday, Mr. Narayan said the U.S. was a classic example of over capitalisation of health care. Nearly a sixth of the country’s GDP was spent on health care. But, countries such as France and Japan that spent less had better health care systems.

“India is going the U.S. way. The expensive diagnostic equipment Andhra Pradesh has is in some cases more than what is available in the U.K.”

Over capitalisation reflects itself as excess bills, leading to erosion of the medical professions’ credibility, Mr. Narayan explained. “Money is not essential for better health care,” said Mr. Narayan, and cited the examples of the bifurcated needle used for small pox vaccine and Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician of German extraction, who found that washing of hands after examining patients reduced the spread of disease.

Mr. Narayan said that universal health coverage was the need of the hour and doctors, an enlightened section of society, should demand that the government implement it.

About corruption that was being tolerated by the medical profession, primarily in medical education, he wondered how the students were ready to pay crores of rupees to get a postgraduate seat.

Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal said it was not a perfect world and some compromises had to be made, trying to explain the reason for students paying exorbitant amounts for seats.

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