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Updated: July 23, 2012 16:55 IST

The Aamir Khan Column: Health care for the poor, a dream worth dreaming

Aamir Khan
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Aamir Khan.
Aamir Khan.

What is the point of having a great GDP if as a society we are unhealthy?

I am a bit of a dreamer. I dream that one day we will be living in a country where things will be different, and where the rich and the poor will both get the same, good, quality health care. To many it may seem like a totally impractical, and an unachievable dream. But it's a dream worth dreaming, and one that has every reason to come true.

Irrespective of whether you are rich or poor, when you lose a loved one, the pain is the same. To watch my child suffer and die because of an incurable disease while I am unable to do anything is truly sad. But if there is treatment available which can save my child, and I am unable to save my child because I can't afford it — and can only helplessly sit by and watch my child die — that is unimaginably tragic.

What is stopping us from having a great public health-care system?

A number of us pay our taxes. Some of us don't. And most of us don't earn enough to be required to pay direct taxes. A host of indirect taxes are also collected by each State. Each time we buy something, big or even small, we pay some or the other tax. So it turns out that the poor are also paying for public health care. Only they don't get proper services in return. Less than two per cent of our Gross Domestic Product — 1.4 per cent to be precise — is allotted to public health care.

Why?

Experts who work in this space say that it should be at least six per cent for a very basic level of public health facilities. I am neither an economist nor a doctor, but I would prefer to err on the safer side and say eight to 10 per cent is what it should be.

What is the point of having a great GDP if as a society we are unhealthy? Economic strength will come only if, first, we are healthy; and it will be of some use only if we are healthy enough to enjoy it.

Importantly, health is also a State issue and each State collects only indirect taxes. Why isn't more of our money spent on setting up more public hospitals, and more importantly, on public medical colleges? Why are there not enough public medical colleges with attached public hospitals across each State?

With a vibrant young population, more public medical colleges are the need of the hour. But it seems the government at the Centre, and all the State governments, are concentrating less on opening government medical colleges, and therefore, the great need of young students wanting to become doctors is getting filled by — you guessed right — private medical colleges, who, I am told, charge Rs.50 to 60 lakh as an unofficial donation.

In most cases, private medical colleges are basically springing up as businesses. Many of them don't even have proper working hospitals attached to them, which is mandatory. I sometimes wonder how competent the doctors who are coming out of these private medical colleges would be.

We need to firmly tell State and Central governments that we want more public hospitals with attached public medical colleges.

Private hospitals are most welcome, but let's concentrate on our public health-care system and make it so strong that private hospitals have to work harder to compete, and therefore, we as a society get better services.

When a student sits his/her MBBS exams and is asked what the prescription medication for a patient suffering from diabetes is, he or she might write “glimepiride.” This is the salt commonly used to treat diabetes. When this student becomes a doctor and a patient who has diabetes comes to him/her for treatment, he/she might write the medicine name as Amaryl. So, is that young doctor prescribing the wrong medication? No. Amaryl happens to be one of the brand names by which the salt “glimepiride” is sold. So what is the difference between the two, apart from the names? Well, a strip of 10 tablets of Amaryl costs around Rs.125, while a strip of 10 tablets of the salt “glimepiride” costs Rs.2. Both are essentially the same thing. We pay approximately Rs.123 more for the brand name.

Here are some more examples:

The common cold is one of the most prevalent illnesses. The salt name of the medicine used to tackle it is cetirizine. Now, the manufacturing, packaging, transportation costs of this generic medicine, including a decent margin, is Rs.1.20 for 10 tablets. But the branded version of the same medication, for example Cetzine, costs over Rs.35 for 10 tablets.

A common injection used to treat blockages that cause heart attacks is “streptokinase” or “urokinase”; these injections cost Rs.1000. However, in their branded form they cost over Rs.5000 in the market.

Malaria is a big killer in India, especially among children. A critical injection used to treat resistant malaria is available for as little as Rs.25 for a pack of three injections; however the branded versions cost Rs.300 to Rs.400.

In the case of diarrhoea, another big killer of children in India, the vomiting that causes dehydration can be stopped with a medicine whose salt name is “domperidone,” which is available at Rs.1.25 for a strip of 10 tablets; its branded version, Domstal, sells at Rs.33.

How can our poor, or for that matter even our middle class, afford medication?

Generic medicines are the answer.

In this regard we have to applaud the efforts of the Rajasthan government. It has set up shops selling generic medicines across the State in an effort to make good quality medicines available to people at the lowest possible rates.

Roughly 25 per cent of all ailments go untreated in India because of financial reasons. Think of the difference generic medicines can make to every Indian! If the Rajasthan government can do it, why can't other State governments do the same?

An interesting piece of information: the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers offers Rs.50,000 to anyone wanting to open a shop selling generic medicines, and at their discretion they sometimes offer space to open such a shop.

Looks like my dream of good, quality, public health care being available to the rich and poor alike may be possible after all.

P.S: Can our doctors please write out the generic name of the medication when they write out our prescription, and allow us to choose the brand — or not.

Jai Hind. Satyamev Jayate.

(Aamir Khan is an actor. His column will be published in The Hindu every Monday.)

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I'm a pharmacist and i know about the existence of both generic and branded medicine but as a consumer i always prefer the branded one from the companies that are known for quality in manufacturing. After reading many articles on spurious and adulterous drugs i can never trust companies generics from unknown companies. All said and done good quality generic drugs are to be made accesible and available to the underpriviledged and let the middle classes make the decision for themselves on generic vs branded.
Aamir Saab u r doing a really great job by creating awareness about topics that are to be taken seriously but please don't be too judgemental and negative towards professionals(doctors) who in majority are doing good to the society. I totally agree about more gdp spending on healthcare and more public medical colleges. MCI should stop being a toothless body and start taking desicions on the wrong-doings of doctors and private medical colleges

from:  vivek shukla
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 21:42 IST

Eye opener! Its time for a radical change in India

from:  Naveen Chandru
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 20:29 IST

What are the big killers in India? Diarrhea, dysentery, infections. What is needed is more health literacy and awareness, cleanliness and small hospitals providing "primary care" in every district. Health literacy in India is very poor even among the educated. Also, indegenous medicine (ayurvedic, yunani, homeopathy) should be integrated with primary care. India does not need big public hospitals with CT scans, MRIs etc but needs a number of dedicated doctors willing to work at "primary care" hospitals.
There has to be a 3 tier system at district, state and federal level. Have state of art hospitals run by federal govt and smaller hospitals at district level upwards by state govt. Complicated cases need to be referred up but most of cases (diarrhea/dysentery, infections etc) can be treated at village/district level by ensuring hygiene, compulsory immunization etc.

from:  Sridhar
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 17:49 IST

Dear Mr.Khan,It is true of the Generics and also of the product and process patents under which multinational companies fleece the people.The recent heroic judgement by the Controller General of Drug Patents allowing NATCO to manufacture a drug still under patent protection to sell at a low cost by manufacturing through process re-engineering is a case in >point towards providing medicines at lower cost.It is the nexus between the Drug Manufacturers and the Doctors offered with commissions for prescribing the medicines manufactured by a certain company, which leads to high medical cost for the poor. Evidence based medicines and treatment should be encouraged. Satyameva jayate.. should be the hipocrates oath of doctors qualifying under the expense of public exchequer to start with..

from:  C.KRISHNAGOPl
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 13:37 IST

General government total expenditure (% of GDP) for India in year 2010 is 26.467 %. Total expenditure consists of total expense and the net acquisition of nonfinancial assets. Note: Apart from being on an accrual basis, total expenditure differs from the GFSM 1986 definition of total expenditure in the sense that it also takes the disposals of nonfinancial assets into account.

And Health is just 1.4%, This truly tragic.

from:  yashveer
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 13:25 IST

Dear Mr. Amir, it is really heartening to see a public figure like you taking so much interest in creating awareness about issues plaguing Indian society.

The Healthcare issue was very pertinent. However I would like to bring to your attention that there are two hospitals which have in a manner of sorts given us a clue of how this problem can be solved if there is a will.

Yes, I am referring to Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi and in Bengaluru. I think you should visit them sometime and get a first hand experience of these 'medical marvels'; i call them so because I have visited them any number of times for various reasons. And everytime, I returned touched, moved and inspired. Thank you.

from:  Bishu Prusty
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 12:19 IST

Kudos to Aamir and Satyameva Jayate !! There is one thing that is lacking in the format of the show. Many good initiatives are highlighted but we also need to focus on the scalability of these initiatives on a national level and also the feasibility of the same. Considering the program being relayed on national TV and being broadcasted to a wide variety of audience it is important to do this else it ends up as nothing but yet another empty jibe at the existing system and an unrealised dream of the sufferers.
I would urge the team to highlight possible solutions rather than highlighting jus the issues. Guess we already know pretty well that there are loopholes in the system, saying it outloud is not really a step to overcome them.

from:  Abhijit Pattnaik
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 12:13 IST

grt work aamir! keep d flame burning. its heartening 2 see superstars giving their due back 2 d society, alyhough 4 some, making money by dancing at marriages and betting money on IPL is their only life.
the crusade u have undertaken makes us realize a lot although we all had seen it glancingly many a tmes in our day t day life. That is why u r the No 1 Khan!!

from:  amit srivastava
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 11:39 IST

Dear Aamir,

Hats off to you for taking such a nice initiative. Ive been keeping track of your shows and your articles published. They make a great deal of sense to everyone who is reading it. This article in particular gives a clear picture of the difference between availability and affordability. The problem in India is not availability but affordability. I just hope this article changes the mind of one doctor who has been prescribing names of drugs which have a much cheaper version with the same effect.
The already high earning doctors say gain 10 rupees as commission from the manufacturers of the costly tablets, but just take one moment to imagine how much the person at the receiving end would be loosing, more so if the patient is poor. these tablets would be eating up half his salary per month, where as the commission the doctor earns would be spent on a day's outing along with his family.

Please think!
Jai hind..satyameva jayate

from:  Jeeva
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 11:05 IST

many readers before me have already pointed out about the role model
that Sri Sathya Sai Insutitute of Higher Medical Sciences serves in
the field of providing Hi-quality Medi-Care free of cost.
the only regret that i wish to express is that the TV show, of this magnitude and Purpose, apparently was not diligent enough that it missed out yeoman service of 2 such Super Specialty Hospitals.

from:  Harish Ramachandran
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 10:52 IST

True indeed many doctors tend to make money by devious/dishonest means to return huge loan taken and spent on medical course and then get used to it to amass wealth, TOTALLY FORGET THE OATH TAKEN on graduation - rightly called the Hippocratic oath" (!) Pity - one way to promote generic medicine reach the poor patients IS to restore good OLD mini course in Medical care like L M P - shorter duration with good BASIC knowledge imparted - this will enable more to access the education and set up practice ! Don't we have in Engineering, Diploma courses besides Degrees form University? ! Why not consider this seriously and help the common man ? Request people with influence power to undertake this mission early !

from:  Radhik Hairam
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 04:39 IST

I endorse the facts expressed in the episode. Doctors of Corporate
Hospitals generally does not accept reports of outside Laboratories
and insist for investigation from the same hospital where they are
work. My other comments:1.The Consultation fee charged by Doctors be
displayed prominently at the entrance of the Hospital it self.
2.Certain percentage of the surcharge of income tax collected from the
people be utilised to provide generic medicines to the patients in all
Local Government Hospitals and this should be done through a private
Trust/ body comprising senior citizens who are interested in doing
social work.3.Industrial houses/ people be encouraged to donate to the
Local Govt Hospitals liberally and such donations be exempted in full
from Income Tax and such amount be utilised for maintenance of the
Hospital and health care including medicine requirements of the
Patients.4.Govt Hospitals to be strengthened financially and a Social
audit be done every six months

from:  K.Srinivas
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 22:33 IST

I just want to highlight few of my concerns about our actions and the way we live in our system.

Responses to this column are incomparable to others. One can't simple put that it is because of the subject, never published, or it has been analysed in a most effective manner or it has got few most distinct promising outcomes.

I feel it has got several reasons one among them may be that the crowd in our system follows celebrities and the magnitude varies by time and sector. Looking positively, by keeping aside the business and money, it makes that group of people (crowd) to get awareness on the issues and make them to know the problem. It is one of the best options available to do so.
If you are looking for Solutions to those, then those will happen when a common man (not always a celebrity) stands on his feet to challenge system (many are there in history. till RTI act) crowd won’t recognise at that instance or after that as they generally don’t follow them nor even a common man wants.

from:  Bogathi Hari
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 16:56 IST

Here we can see that in India people are very much crazy about film
industry and cricket. If some icon will raise the social issue, every
one will notice why can not we realize our self the issues which we
deal in our daily life, why someone from Bollywood or cricket would
get noticed us and push us to think.

from:  mohammad khalid
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 16:54 IST

excellent ideas mr aamir khan
but it is the large corporate hospital chains/businessess which rule the health care and have corrupted it can they open a chain of generic drug stores? e.g apollo/fortis/etc, unless they are brought to book its very difficult /its a business for them.

from:  deepak
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 15:46 IST

There have been numerous articles written by economists, health experts and academicians on the state of healthcare in our country in this newspaper itself apart from others. But never before I have seen such huge responses from the people and comments from them. Why has there been such a response now. Is it because Aamir Khan is advocating the same or highlighting the issues. Remember Aamir gets paid a hefty sum (in crores) for this show and his concern and commitment to the cause ends at that. His opinion is again based on the inputs from the people who are an authority on the subject. The opinion of those experts we never pay any heed. There is a big lobby of pharma companies and nexus of them and doctors and even politicians and bureaucrats . Hence neither any action nor steps to curb them would be taken. Its not a pessimsitic view but a view based on the actual fact and ground realities.

from:  SREENI NAIR K
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 13:32 IST

@ Mr. Aamir Tahir Hussain (aka Aamir Khan) 1. Generics exist because the original manufacturer sank in cash, staff and numerous resources. The poor may be prescribed generics but people who can afford may be prescribed branded medications.
2.I am a proud doctor working in a rural area after my graduation in a private medical college. I studied there not because I wanted to make money, but because of my passion to study medicine (I missed the bus twice to make it to public medical colleges by just a fraction because I belong to the unreserved General Category) My father paid thro' his nose to get me thro' college. This is also the case with 60% of my batchmates.
3.I write only generic prescriptions and do so scruplously, even chiding my friends and colleagues to do so. I am a private college passout.
4.I did well in college, winning scholarships for research work as a student. I further plan to work in a tribal hospital for a year. Yet I am incompetent according to you .....

from:  Hari
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 12:27 IST

Is it a advertorial piece for Mr. Khan's TV show since he seems to be signing off with the program's name or is it just a co-incidence? Is Mr. Khan paying 'The Hindu' to get published? Does a reputed publication such as 'The Hindu' really need to air the hollow superficial 'dreams' of these gimmicky celebrities?

from:  Rajkamal
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 12:13 IST

The ideas put forward are certainly appreciable. In my view, the case of
shifting entirely to generic medicine can act as an impediment in the
future as this can drive away competition and lead to stagnating R & D
in the field, which will not help keep up with the latest technology,
thereby denying newer and more efficient drugs from entering the market
in the long-run.

from:  Sreegovind Vellody
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 11:34 IST

Well done Aamir,
The pathology problem discussed in this episode,everybody is facing the same in their life. We face the same problem with a renowned doctor in Goregaon East Mumbai.The same We would like to share with you.My wife was pregnant-21 weeks completed, doctor Suggested to go for a blood test which normally every pregnant women does in particular week of pregnancy, Doctor call a representative from a renowned Pathology lab for the Blood Samples, we have given them the blood sample, Doctor asked for X amount for this test, Trusting on Doctor we given X amount to Doctor, But when we went to that renowned Pathology Lab for some other tests, the Lab personnel asked for the previous test reports, we gave them the file and then they shocked by seeing the last test Bill amount, they said the X amount asked by doctor is almost double the Lab standard test amount.
Then the Doctor tired to call us many times to resolve the case, saying that the the mistake was happened by one of nurse.

from:  Mukul Deshkar
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 10:15 IST

Sir,
Your episode on the healthcare was a very interesting one but i think a very important example which supports all your points has been missed out. A hospital is not we are looking at as Doctors are treated as next to Gods...they should be Temples Of Healing which should offer medicare to all irrespective of all the diversities in the world. I am, referring to Two such Temples of Healing

1. In the district of Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh , The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram,Puttaparthi

2.The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield, Bengaluru.

Please look into the details of these Sacred edifices which are serving humanity in the way that is exemplary to the entire system of Health Care.

from:  Ganesh
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 09:14 IST

The "Re"-Thinking Man Column: It is indeed thought provoking when the Thinking Man explains how 'branding of objects (here medicines)' increases the price of the essential medicines and how it can be made available at the lowest prices possible. I am sure that the ‘Emotionally Thinking Actor’ can place this newly acquired knowledge in lager perspective- Branding and Commodity Fetishism are at the core of the no-liberal market economic culture. Within the logical constraints of this economic culture, a branded medicine is no different from a branded beverage (Coke?)- How about a litmus test of ethics for the honest and concerned, thinking actor cum celebrity? How about giving up endorsements of products hereafter, thereby not contributing further to brand-building of any kind whatsoever! Moreover, how about giving up endorsements of beverages, which are anyway unhealthy in nature? - "Satyameva (????)Jayate"

from:  Akshay
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 05:50 IST

I wanted to throw some light on the generic vs 'branded' drug. I am going to use 'patented' instead of 'branded', because that describes the case more accurately. I learned this from a relative highly respected in drug industry. A drug can be viewed as comprising of 2 parts: 1. the actual drug which cures the illness. This is what is patented 2. a 'carrier' chemical which carries the drug to the right place in the body. When a patent has lived out its life and is available to other companies for making 'generic' drugs, only the actual drug is available to other companies which then make their 'cheaper' drug. This cheaper drug does NOT have the same carrier which the original patented drug had. This difference in carrier causes the loss in quality. So, the bad lower quality of 'generic' drug is almost built into the system, and does not always have much to do with bad quality equipment/cutting corners by drug companies. So a generic drug might not always be the cheap and best thing

from:  Ankit Chandra
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 03:32 IST

While the malaise of corruption and neglect of public health services is a concern, it is not true that Aamir is the only start highlighting this. Lesser stars like Manorama, Kamal,Vikram and Surya have done it, so it's not true that stars don't do it. It would have been convincing if Aamir had matched his intentions with a spotless public record. One has never heard Aamir raising any sort of public awareness or contributing anything is so many years.
Aamir's tax-omissions record is fresh in memory. While he is unbeatable in publicity done in the most sophisticated fashion, this is a serious issue he dealing in with no previous history or intent to match. I am even surprised that learned readers get carried away by such frivolous statements.
It has become fashionable to indulge in socialist talk to sway the facebook and 'ereading' bhadraloks. A Surya or Aishwarya serving small noble causes at orphanages or AIDS clinics is more genuine.

from:  B. Gopalakrishnan
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 02:29 IST

Do some hospitals/doctors perform operation on people, to take out kidney/lever etc to transplant to other patients, who have loads of money??? The story about Army Office Pankaj Rai's points towards something fishy other that just earning money by the hospital/doctor by performing operations. I think, it was more to take some parts out which are healthy and make a good match with an ailing rich person.

from:  Naresh
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 23:41 IST

This is in response to the Aamir Khan's article "HEALTH CARE FOR THE POOR". I would like to share some of my views about the generic medicines. His idea is good. Coming to the practical problems I bring about some of them. *So many pharmaceuticals are coming up, some with substandard quality of medicines. How they get a clearance from the Govt. to market their products is an enigma, but we do have such drugs. Such medicines can reach patients . *People if not trusting the doctors for their prescription, have to depend on the pharmacists, if doctors just indicate the generic name of the medicine. Can we trust the pharmacists, as there are instances of giving substandard drugs which give lot of profitable margin to them. Even there are instances where totally different medicines being given to the patients which were not prescribed at all with disastrous consequences. *The status of the 'aam' admi with reference to the level education and knowledge , is also an important point.

from:  Dr. Zakir Hussain
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 21:28 IST

The 'Re'-Thinking Man Column: It is indeed thought provoking when the Thinking Man explains how 'branding of objects (here medicines)' increases the price of the essential medicines and how it can be made available at the lowest prices possible. I am sure that the "Emotionally Thinking Actor" can place this newly acquired knowledge in lager perspective- Branding and Commodity Fetishism are at the core of the no-liberal market economic culture. Within the logical constraints of this economic culture, a branded medicine is no different from a branded beverage (Coke?)- How about a litmus test of ethics for the honest and concerned, thinking actor cum celebrity? How about giving up endorsements of products hereafter, thereby not contributing further to brand-building of any kind whatsoever! Moreover, how about giving up endorsements of beverages, which are anyway unhealthy in nature? - 'Satyameva Jayate (????)'

from:  Akshay
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 19:11 IST

I refer medguideindia.com. They are doing an excellent service. My monthly expenditure on medicines for my father has come down drastically as I refer to this site and go for the cheapest drug. Doctors should be urged to prescribe generic medicines.

from:  Giridhar
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 18:41 IST

Amir, I am little older than you, grew up in India but started career in USA. I watch your TV presentation with great interest and appreciate them very much. Please start looking into hearts (intent) of Indians than in their motivation to become rich & famous. By the way, who does not want that, even you have tried and from grace of Almighty you are successful today. So just follow your hearts, your intent of young age and that will slowly but steadily lead you to solution you are searching for. Whether it is social issue, economic issue or political issue in India, the Indians have lost the "good intent" in their character. If you can motivate them to be the best they can be as human, things will change in all directions. And, that change will be genuine and long lasting until the invaders will be able to pollute The Vedic Philosophy of Life which is truly a guide to humanity.

from:  Dr. K Arun
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 18:38 IST

In India every sector needs reforms, but the health and education needs immediate attention as it affects all of us.Govt.needs to open more medical institutes sounds more eyecatching and pro poor,but at the cost of primary educcation needs to be questioned. Even in the Govt.medical colleges it is only the rich gets admissoin,very rarely poor become a doctor in India even in govt.college.More public health hospitals,as we know how the existing public hospitals are functioning.Does anyone knows the unit cost for any treatment is more costlier in public hospitals than Private one.Someone says that Doctors are next to God,doctors are also human beings with all desire,ambitions like anyother members of society.Some advised for more regulations in health care that indirectly means more crruption and increases the cost of healthcare without having any impact on quality.So the solution is more private institutes which competes among themselves.But more important than that is educating the mass.

from:  R.Manivarmane
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 15:46 IST

mr.AK is replaying the picture that we are already knowing.what is the use? it is one more film viewing in ourTV screen without any solution.honestly telling he must consult the social service NGOs and forward their opinion to government or to the forums.it is only an outlet for him to show his awarness or concern
narayanan

from:  narayanan
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 15:31 IST

The issue with generic drugs is a highly relevant one, especially now when various
Western governments have been intensely lobbying with the UPA government to
have these banned in India. India as is well known, is the number one producer of
generic drugs in the world, a large number of which are exported to developing
countries and are keeping millions alive there, albeit at a cost to the Western
pharma companies whose profit margins are being eaten into by these generic
drugs, e.g. HIV medication from India for Africa.

Unfortunately, the UPA government seems to have allowed itself to be cornered
and has made various concessions to the Western pharma lobbies, which if truly
implemented would spell doom for the generic industry and the countless millions
whose lives depend on these.

I think it would be wise to step up our defense of this life-saving industry for now.
Bigger goals like universal healthcare are desirable but we atleast need to save
what we have at the present to begin.

from:  Vivek Sharma
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 15:29 IST

One important thing we are missing here is that most of the medicines manufactured by Indian pharma companies are Generic drugs and they are sold at very high price. This is not possible without the help of state/central govt health dept. It is definitely a bigger scam than 2G or Coal.

from:  Keshava Murthy
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 14:21 IST

Dear Mr. Aamir, Thank you for the great work you have undertaken. I
wish you all success in your endeavor. I would like to draw your
attention to the work being done in Health Care by Sri Sathya Sai
Super Specialty Hospitals for the past twenty years. One hospital in
Puttaparthi has been in operation for about 20 years and the other one
in Bangalore for 10 years. All treatment is given absolutely free of
charge - not a single paisa is collected from the patients, rich or
poor. Even food for patients is free. Sai Organizations across India
also contact poor patients in their areas after their treatment in the
hospital and supply post operation medicines free where possible.

from:  Sivakumar
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 14:15 IST

Wonderful thoughts Mr.Aamer.
Most of the root cause of the ailments is lack of nutrition & mental stress. The next topic is how as a society we can allow our generations to become weak and force them to go to hosptials. How can we allow foodgrains to rot, sell nutritious food (eg Mango) to be exported while our generation go without it. Wishing you good luck and god bless your/team's effort...

from:  Arvind
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 14:08 IST

I have found by my experience, the generic medicines or for that matter a cheaper brand medicines are not as effective as the super branded medicines.Why? The government should look into this and enforce quality. Otherwise there is no meaning in producing generic medicines which turn out to be inferior.
Another aspect is some pharmacy shops give 10% dicount on medicines. How this is possible for them? It may mean the margins given by the manufacturers are high. This also can be looked into by the Government.Ultimately it is the government which should be proactive in providing universal healthcare at affordable cost. Will the Governments at the Centre and States wake up?

from:  R.M.Murthy
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 13:48 IST

It is definitely a great thought and analysis by Mr.Khan and its great to watch a star using his stardom to create awareness and bring about a social revolution. I was elated to see so many inputs from people that I didn't know where to type this comment. The bit about private medical colleges is true, and as a result, there's generally a lot of undue pressure on the MBBS aspirants to get a good enough rank in their exam to get into a good Govt. Medical College only! So, the point of increasing the number of these colleges is definitely accepted, but we should also look at the possibility of doing this in this fast paced economic world! There has to be a public awareness, a serious need for the Govt. to take it up as a vital issue. Also, its true that India is the most economic place to produce medicines, but Indians never really benefited from it! I hope the change comes from here, and take a bow Mr. Aamer Khan

from:  Mohammad Ashraf
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 08:46 IST

My father, the late Dr. M. M. Mittal, recognized the issue of expensive
brands versus cheaper generics. Realizing that educating the consumer
was essential, he started a web portal (www.medguideindia.com) that lets
users enter brand name medicines and search for cheaper generics with
the same constituents. This portal is completely free to users. I
urge everybody to use and share this website. Taking proactive action
is the only way to bring fairness into the medical system.

from:  Saurabh Mittal
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 07:30 IST

According to WHO % GDP spent on Health (2008 stats)
Rank of India is 145 India 122 4.2
1 United States 15.2
2 Monaco 5,996
3 Luxembourg 6.8
4 Norway 8.5
5 Switzerland 10.7
6 Netherlands 9.9
7 Austria 10.2
8 Belgium 11.1
9 Germany 10.5
10 Canada 9.8
11 France 11.2
12 Denmark 9.9
13 Ireland 8.7
14 San Marino 7.1
15 Sweden 9.4
16 Iceland 9.2
17 Australia 8.5
18 Finland 8.8
19 United Kingdom 8.7
20 Andorra 7.5
21 Greece 10.1
22 Spain 2 9.0
23 Italy 8.7
24 Japan 8.3
25 New Zealand 9.7
26 Portugal 10.6
27 Slovenia 8.3
28 Niue 13.5
29 Israel 8.0
30 Taiwan (Republic of China)[3] 6.5

from:  Deep
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 07:24 IST

This episode covering the poor state of health care was truly a master piece!
1) The root cause of all problems being greed. Our society is based on greed and amassing wealth as there is close relationship between rich and powerful people thru out the world.
2) We Indian have a notion that only politicians, bureaucrats or public servants are corrupt but I believe all of us (doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, laborers...) are equally corrupt and we just like to put blame on the selected few. Whoever has the authority is always likely to misuse it so the ruling class is more visibly corrupt.
3) There is always a lack of accountability in our country and the mode of of trial is often very slow and punishment is too mild making it as good as nothing.
4) The biggest obstacle is ignorance and illiteracy of the majority of our population, even the educated are ignorant!! And its just a vicious circle.

from:  Rohit Khanna
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 07:23 IST

Aamir Bhai seems to bit more worried and kinda philosopher here by
touching various dimension in a single article concerning on health
care facilities. It could be more effective if the attention was paid
at a single issue rather than discussing on corruption, private
medical colleges and much more. It is doubtless that few of the things
are interrelated but you cannot blame the making of medicine in an article focussing on health care facilities in rural areas.

from:  Muhammad Ahmad
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 00:33 IST

The Hindu is partisan to aamir show. I do not know from which age Aaamir khan is thinking about social cause, or have a like on editorial job. Could the THE HINDU tell us?

from:  aruna
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 22:26 IST

This dream of adequate health care is practised by many European
nations. Though seen from here, EU social systems are in deficit but
they give extra life and happiness due to healthy existence.

But it needs cultural changes to accept that there are not 2 Indias-
one serving the other and having different living standards. Take
France. The revolution in the beginning of 18th century brought one
change of social paradigm. When Pascal discovered vaccination,
government ordered vaccination of the whole population. As a
consequence, today longevity is second most in France. If Japan has
the longest life expectancy, it is also probably the social
solidarity.

Can we expect such a change in India? Flaunting money on temples, on
marriages.. is a sign of social importance. Did anyone say that
Indians are kind hearted. Europeans, 76% atheists, contribute several
hundred anonymous million Euros on research for cancer or other
deseases. Indians donate to temples, mosques & churches.

from:  sharad tripathi
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 22:18 IST

I was out this sunday and hence could not watch the show this week. Thanks to this column, I know what issue was discussed. Healthcare is really very importatnt issue which needs to be tackled. Here in USA majority of the prople have healthcare insurance and that makes healthcare more manageable. Comparatively in India due to huge unorganised sector and large unemployment it is difficult to get people under healthcare insurance. Reducing the cost of drugs especially by using generic drugs is really good way to reduce the cost.

from:  Anil Tiwari
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 21:21 IST

It is so wonderful to see Amir taking such challenging issues for his shows and creating an
awareness among the Indian public. It is very commendable.

My concern is that we have a more immediate and urgent issue, which is about our living
conditions. Cleanliness is next to Godliness goes the old saying. A clean environment is
what we need in India. We in India seem to accept the squalor condition that surround us.
This issue never comes up during election. Clean environment and clean drinking water
alone will solve many of the health problems. I suggest and hope Amir will address this issue
in his future shows.


from:  Shantha Ayer
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 21:18 IST

dear aamir
I am one of your fans and love all the movies you have done. Regarding
Private medical colleges and hospitals - please do not brand them as
bad with a common brush. The doctor whom you showed Padmabushan Devi
Shetty is from Indias first Private capitation fee based college
Kasturba Medical College Manipal.( I was here senior to him in the
same college so I know). The hospital Devi Shetty runs is doing yeoman
service and it is a PRIVATE hospital.What we need is to take students
into medical colleges on Merit and also give scholarships for the
poor( NOT RESERVATIONS - IT SERVES NO PURPOSE ). Do you know that I
got very high marks in my Pre University but did not get a government
medical college seat in Mysore State in 1971( now Karnataka) as my
father was a central government servant and I did not have
domicility in the state so I joined KMC Manipal the first Private
Medical college started in 1953. God bless in your public service
programs.

from:  sankaran sundar
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 19:38 IST

Dear Aamir
Thanks a lot for this new version of sathyagraha which you have initiated. If you look at the history of mankind you will notice that every thing went on well till the advent of money...what ever be the incident you will find its role in it. we all have one life and it gets wasted in pursuit of money.
hope this world gets back to same old good days...
All the best for your endeaour.

from:  A.Vinodh
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 18:49 IST

To me it seems to be utopian to expect in this country both the rich and the poor will get the same, good quality health care .Rather impractical in the given situation where we find so much corruption and scams which gets unearthed at frequent intervals that eats up the much needs revenue for all the developmental work including healthcare for the people of this country. The political leaders elected by the people are the ones to whom we look forward to for progress of the country are the very persons betraying us . Improvement in culture or attitude of people whatever you may has say has to begin from the top level . Everything improvements are top driven which then percolates to the bottom .But to me this is unlikely going to happen atleast in the near future , as presently we do not have a mass leader (selfless and honest ) with a vision for this country . This may sound pessimistic but is the unfortunate truth .

from:  partha datta
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 17:34 IST

thank you Aamir and congratulation to you ..you are rocking and inspiration to many other heroes. and KUDOS to your entire team...the research on each and every topic your team is doing marvelous..

from:  Spandana
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 17:05 IST

Dear The vast business oriented medical college managements are exploiting the dreams of young would be doctors. The public medical colleges with good infrastructure can be a reality. Models based on AIIMS and PGI Chandigarh should be opened in many other places in India which can act as tertiary referral centres and smaller hospitals in every towns should be created to work as primary and secondary hospitals, these smaller medical units should be linked to tertiary centers via telemedicine so that complex cases can be dealt by important life saving advice from specialist before transfer to major hospitals. Our training in medical colleges is good but it is not sufficient for real life scenarios. So restructuring of medical education is important. Simple Life saving skills like basic life support and cardiac life support is not taught to level where these skills can be used in daily life. Your contribution to generate awareness among politicians & public is invaluable.

from:  Vinay Eligar
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 16:40 IST

Are you sure that the Rs. 2 medicine is the same as the Rs. 125 one?

from:  Thomas George
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 15:54 IST

Aamir it may interest you to know that your dream's been realised for the last ten years at least! The Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospitals in Bangalore and Puttaparthi have been rendering free medical care, and top notch at that, to the rich and poor without much publicity for many years now. You should visit the hospitals to know and see for yourself the good work that's been going on silently for over a decade now. It is important that media personalities such as yourself spread the good work so that many more people can benefit from the services offered by the two hospitals. Ratan Tata, who had visited the hospital a couple of years ago was immensely impressed by the quality of the healthcare service rendered. The hospitals are to be seen to be believed! For even in this day and age of commercial aspirations and greed, there are institutions that keep humanity at the forefront, all the time.

from:  Srividhya
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 14:59 IST

Great Job, Aamir Bhai. Anyone in the Govt. listening?

from:  kumar
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 14:58 IST

Well said Aamir, I can only agree with all what you said. However what is the attitude of majority of our Doctors??? Last time when I blogged on HT asking for more public medical colleges to reduce cost of healthcare there was a whole host of Doctors & their relatives abusing me. Those doctors gave examples of how doctors earn $500,000 in USA & Indian doctors should get same here. They suggested govt should allow more private hospitals so that local doctors can do multiple shifts (actually doing justice to none) & earn high income. Actually the greed of Indian elite knows no bound.

from:  Shaleen Mathur
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 14:46 IST

After seeing the show I went to the wholesale market in Hyderabad and found one generic shop open on Sunday. Enquired upon the BP tablet for Father amlopres 5mg of cipla. I found the generic medicine amlip 5mg of the cipla only. The price difference in 5 times. Branded one is 44 rs for 15 tablets. I got 30 tablets in 15 rs. I was shocked, same company same formula however the difference which is huge in prices.

from:  SURESH
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 14:44 IST

Though I fully support Aamir on the issues that are broadcast through his show. On this particular one, he has tackled high branded drug prices and generic drug use. From a few comments I read, there are regulations that can stop doctors prescribing specific ones. But many cases the Pharmacist changes the drugs in rural India to what they can afford. And on the issues of Why the branded one is so expensive? In many cases it is those companies which invented/discovered the composition and they too need to recover the R&D. Generics as a solution to emerging market needs are also necessary. What about medical insurance? Today there isn't one which provides proper OP cover at a reasonable cost and its put with more conditions than anywhere else in the world. But overall i think the whole system including us, the people should be proactive and take a wholehearted effort to improve the health of our fellow citizens.

from:  Nandith
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 14:12 IST

Well written Aamir. Great thinking. The governments are fire-fighting
issues such as infrastructure; however they seem to forget the even more
basic issues of hygiene, sanitation, health and well-being. Committed,
corruption free, state funded medical colleges are the need of the hour.
The Government should also consider subsidising costs of medicine (the
price difference between the generic drug and the branded medicine - so
that the producers are also compensated). Keep going.

from:  Bala
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 13:48 IST

clebrities should learn from aamir khan,he is earning money but with a cause.

from:  amit koul
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 12:10 IST

Whatever the idea may be, no matter how great, issue is with the implementation, which is usually the responsibility of the apex agency concerned. But, a centrally located, corrupt governing body viz MCI may be doing more damage than what Aamir has just highlighted. Decentralisation of this agency at state level may bring some change in the situation...at least in some states, if not all. Even if one state tames the overall health 'business' sector via its local version of MCI...same could be repeated by populates of other states. Good work by Rajasthan Govt. and Hats OFF to Aamir... you have been always more than anything said and heard about you.

from:  Amit S Baghel
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 11:47 IST

Great article. The capitation fee problem is so common, not just in medical colleges, but in Engineering colleges too. I used to think the 'donation' was a legal amount. I was shocked a couple of years back when I realized that it was illegal. Each engineering seat costs anywhere between 5 and 20 lakhs depending on the reputation and branch of engineering. This is so widely practiced and very openly known, atleast in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

from:  Dileep Kumar Patchigolla
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 10:51 IST

The whole issue about generic drugs seems straight forward. Prescribe the drugs and voila the patients get treated cheaply. One thing which Aaamir khan missed completely is that the generic drugs manufactured in india are spurious in nearly 40 % of the cases.Moreover, a lot of generic drugs have been proven to be less efficacious (that is their ability to have the desired effect on the cause is less). In such a situation, it is a safe option for a doctor to prescribe a branded medicine of a reputed pharmaceutical company. Off course in such a situation, the Doctor must use his clinical judgement and the only basis for selecting a brand must be it's clinical effectiveness and not any favour which he/she has received from a medical representative. while developing a molecule drug companies spend a lot of money on research and development and this needs to be recovered. Otherwise, it would be like a movie which Aamir has produced and somebody rakes the moolah by making a pirated version.

from:  krishnan
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 07:32 IST

Just needed at the moment, don't just watch the programme and emotional, adopt the methods & start working on the same, it gives immense pleasure to be a part of it, Aamir may our people understand (mainly youth) & hope this country moves forward, cheers mate......

from:  Raghav
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 06:59 IST

At the same time there's a massive conspiracy behind this scheme which involves the pharma company to pharmacist to doctors to keep illegal/expired drugs in rotation. We need a proper drug inspection on a timely basis or even surprise visits to Pharma companies as well as chemist shops to make a not of the drugs being sold. These inspections happen but its just for namesake. The stricter the rules are the better the outcomes! I seriously don't get the point that the Govt. spends less share of its GDP on healthcare. The Govt. spends substantial amount of GDP on railways, but how many of us are actually satisfied with the railway service (including its maintenance). We need a corruption free/efficient follow up on every undertakings that the Govt announces. Again, Govt. doesn't mean a group of divine lords taking decisions, it all comes down to the same old greedy bunch of humans!

from:  Venkat
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 06:26 IST

Why is that its only Indians who give so much attention to anything when a celebrity (mostly a Cinema based persona) endorse it. Its such a terrible attitude provided that a majority of the literates are a part of it! I truly appreciate Aamir for having done a great job. One of the first actors to actually participate in a social cause. My problem is how many of you would have cared about the Healthcare issue if this program wasn't aired! There are 100s of social activists who struggle to get this message across, there are 100s of writers doing it but it all comes down to one actor to come and educate almost the already educated part of India. In India the patent system allows a pharma company to reproduce the same method that is already patented with minor changes to synthesize drugs. This is the main reason why we have cheap medicines which is good.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 06:17 IST

Aamir hats off to you. You are a boon to India and a real hero. Keep up the good work. Most of the europeans enjoy health care provided by their governments. National Health Service in India is funded by the tax payer and none of us pay a penny when we see our doctor or undergo surgical procedures. Health can easily be provided by the state if taxes are collected properly and corruption is eliminated. I once again thank Hindu for this great article from a great man.

from:  Dr RKRAO REBBAPRAGADA
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 04:15 IST

Delighted to read the elobarate and well thought out content of all the comments from Physicians and Highly educated people throughout the world- USA, Europe, Australia, India. I am glad to see Hindu's reach through out the Indian diaspora. Even in the mightiest /richest country like US , elderly in many cases have to choose between food and branded meds. Let me give you an example of how much a drug which lowers cholestrol Atorvostatin/ Lipitor costs - $200=00, i.e Rs. 11,000/- for 30 tabs / month supply. In India I am sure you will get it for Rs. 200/- for a month supply from reputed companies like cipla, ranbaxy,etc. The way trends are ongoing all these Indian drug Co.s will be bought out like Thums up. Ranbaxy was bought out, Pretty soon you will hear the news of buying out of couple of major Indian pharmas - to make 'good quality generics' unavailable. Multinational Drug Companies have capacity to change Govt. in any part of the world - incl the West, and they did in past.

from:  Rkumar
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 03:02 IST

Hi Aamir, Health care system is a machinery and as you know for a machine to work it needs all parts. For a perfect health care system we need at least 1. Hospital infrastructure. 2. Good management 3. Doctors 4. Nurses. now do we have all of them. infrastructure ? We have to fight corruption to get good infrastructure. .Now how many management schools in India have hospital management courses.? How many good nursing schools do we have ? you will be amazed the training schools for nurses is terrible. by just opening more medical colleges is not going to solve the problem. Doctors can't practice under a tree. And believe me the nurses also play important role in hospitals. By the way, I like your approach of dealing with the issues. I hope you read my suggestions/opinion. Vishesh puri, M.D.

from:  Vishesh puri
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 02:53 IST

Also, if instead of opening one big 1000 bed hospital in one corner of the city where it takes long time to reach, the government should focus on opening 4 hospitals with 250 beds and all same facilities - so that people can have easy access and reach hospitals in time when there is emergency. Big hospitals doesn't mean good care. Actually they are hard to manage. Also, Aamir if people can give way to ambulance instead of blocking the traffic, it will make a big difference. everyone should start giving value to life. The state hospitals should be good to the point that even rich people go to these hospitals- there should be nothing called hospitals for poor- that is segregation in itself. Vishesh Puri, M.D. medicine.

from:  vishesh puri
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 02:17 IST

...contd. I heard Baba Ramdev is doing exceptional work in Yoga and Ayurvedic Medicines. Since He already has network of Drug stores throughout the country, can Aamir link this Idea to his thought process! Or can Aamir suggest 'Reliance Foundation' whose parent Company is so good in network store management, to open 'Reliance Generic Stores'? Aamir, in India only Brand sells fast. If you can go an extra step and convince Reliance Foundation, am sure your dream will be real very soon. If not them, we have TATA,Wipros,HCL's who have social wing which is sincerely focused on such good deeds. Please do the bonding, else it will just remain one more praiseworthy episode. Rang De Basanthi!

from:  Vimal
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 01:52 IST

'Generic Medicines' seems to be a good start point to have option of Survival first. We all have flash memory, we will talk and forget this after few days like watching a good movie. Just praising or blaming somebody is temporary vomiting of feelings. No Pvt Chemist will stock this product, as it will affect their Income. Majority Doctors will not disclose Generic name, as it will impact their profit(They already paid 50Lac to the System, So they will milk common man now). Govt will not come forward so easily . The real solution is Clarity. 1) How to start Generic Stores independently ? 2)Where to source this drugs regularly? 3)Generic Stores must have Doctors who can suggest equivalent Generic drug names after reading Prescriptoin of Branded Medicines 4)A website run by NGO to list/sell online/review this stores. Aamir, if you can publish details in ur website,of Gentlemen who runs this in Rajasthan,it will help building network. Lets see if we can make this dream a reality.

from:  Vimal
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 01:38 IST

I truly agree that Everybody should have access to affordable healthcare and this is possible but for that not only doctors should provide generic names of medicines but it should also refer patients for various diagnostic tests only if they are important. Many of us know why certain doctors refer us for some tests even if its unnecessary. Cost of tests increase by around 10-50% not because of increased price of chemicals to conduct a test but cause of commissions paid ranging from 10-50%. There are many diagnostic centres which don't provide such commissions but the life of such centres are short lived as doctors refuse to accept the reports from these centres and continuous losses result in closure. An investigation on this practice was also carried by Zee News and it exposed these links. Its upon on us to create awareness among the general public so as to stop this practice and fulfill the dream of affordable healthcare.

from:  P Jain
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 00:47 IST

the best practical example and the proof that the best medical care can be given with love and care to any person without considering caste creed color region, financial status ,that too FREE OF COST,is there for everybody to see and follow . thats the Sathya sai institute of higher medical sciences at bangaluru and prashantigram. I strongly believe its very very much possible and there are lot of ideas regarding the same .

from:  vik
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 00:30 IST

aamir is making hate figures out of doctors... why did he not touch upon the falling standards of medical education or the fact that almost all medical colleges in private sector are run by politicians charging massive sums as capitation... how can somebody paying 1 crore for a medical seat ever do justice to the profession... why isn't all medical education subsidised in india.. or the fact that number of pg seats are abysmally low in india.. points to ponder

from:  satyam
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 23:59 IST

The theme selected by Asmir on Health care is the crying need of this country, for which every poor and down trodden man will bow his head. In this regard, I have the following suggestions : 1. Every doctor must write a detailed diagnostic report, medical history, prescriptions and issue a card to every patient he examines to keep the patient aware & well informed. 2. If a Doctor is negligent he should be punished under IPC as murder, causing grievous hurt and also penality to compensate the victims 3. There must be openness, transparency in all dealings of a Doctor with a patient. 4. In the Public Hospitals from the time of entry and time of treatment shall all be logged in the time machines to avoid delay in getting treatment.

from:  esan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 23:49 IST

I must congratulate Mr. Amir Khan for bringing health to center stage.
Health is complex subject and has two wings prevention, promotion of health and curative health.Drug administration forms small part of health care for curative purpouse. There is need to do lot more for promotion of health including modification of life style.
Public health is a complex subject since large number of factors influence outcome of policies.
Corruption at all levels governmental or otherwise has resulted in ineffective financing of health care system (WHO report 2010). Lack of health infrastructure,lack of insurence coverage,curative & hitech curriculam of medical education, lack of health systems research, illiteracy, poverty are some determinants of ailements of health system among many.The health system of Dakhina kannada & udupi has private, effective public and Public Private partnership worth emulation.Visit to Regional Advanced Pediatric Care Centre Mangalor will answer all issues raised

from:  Dr. B.S.Baliga
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 22:23 IST

Generic medications are definitely a way to get medications to more patients at a lower cost. I have lived in the US for 30 years, where a pharmacy is obliged to fill with a generic first, and go brand name only if a generic is unavailable. Medical education, access to generic medicines, publicly funded health facilities etc. are details that can be resolved. The core issue is corruption. A 10% allocation of GDP to healthcare is definitely possible if we control tax revenues looted and wasted by the powers that be. Until we are better able to hold our politicians, doctors and bureaucrats to account as to how our tax rupees are spent, serious issues like healthcare for all will not get the funding required.

from:  Swathi
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 21:43 IST

sir
if 6% of GDP is spent in each healthcare and education system the
result will be seen to each of us. but when the mindset of our netas
will change. but hope.....

but both should be treated as services not so called business.

from:  ramachandra behera
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 21:33 IST

All well said amir , but how many peoples know about the salt names of the medicines they are going to buy. Do you think that a patient could go against the name of the brand the have prescribed in the prescription letter by his doctor. I don't think so. The very odd suspicion one gets when pharmacist suggest a low cost medicine to the customer , that he might be getting some extra profit from selling that medicine , inspite of being genuine on his part. So the problem not only lies in the Selling of the drugs by MNCs at exorbitant prices but somewhere in the prescription letter of the doctor also. So its it become a moral responsibility of the medical professionals to put aside their interest upto some extent aside and be genuine to their profession and needs of the sufferers.

from:  Ashok Kumar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 21:18 IST

Dear Aamir, Thank you for bringing to bear the light of truth on important issues and providing us an opportunity to do something about them. Your most recent episode though, could have benefited from the advice of a qualified economist. You say that doctors prescribe costly/unnecessary medicines and tests, so as to recoup the capitation fees that they have paid. Your solution that there should be more public medical colleges is only partly right, and even then for the wrong reason. The real reason why capitation fees are Rs.60 lakhs is the lack of an adequate number of medical colleges (both public and private). If there were an adequate number of medical colleges then there would be no need for students to pay capitation fees. Those of us who remember the benighted pre-1991 days will recall how we paid exorbitant 'premiums' for such simple things as a landline or a scooter and then waited for years to get them, all due to the lack of adequate supply. More importantly, a multiplicity of Private medical colleges would go a far longer way in ensuring quality healthcare than a multiplicity of public medical colleges, for the same reasons that private hotels, mobile phone companies and airlines offer far better service than public ones. Multiplicity of private enterprises has the secret sauce that guarantees quality goods and services to end-users ... COMPETITION. If there were enough private medical colleges, they would compete keenly to attract students by providing good facilities, faculties and scholarships (the last so as to attract good students who in turn can be used to attract other fee-paying ones). Private colleges that are unable to compete would find themselves out of business (like Kingfisher Airlines has). A public medical college has no incentive to perform and those that do, soldier on on the back of their past reputation and the commitment of a few good men. The living proof of the above argument is in engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In these states private engineering colleges are so numerous that the bad ones are unable to even fill their approved number of seats and are closing down in droves. Well-qualified students have no difficulty finding an engineering seat. Instances of capitation fees remain only for those good colleges who have not got government authorisation to increase their number of seats. This is not to say that the government has no role. The government has to play the role of umpire and ensure that it is easy for the common man to file charges against errant doctors and to deliver justice swiftly. To fulfill its social purpose, the government can help provide medical insurance as Dr. Shetty explained on your programme. I pray that going forward you will not, in a knee-jerk fashion, advocate more 'public' intervention by the government as if it were the panacea of all our ills. We Indians, of all people, have had ample opportunity to see the dire straits that government intervention has brought us to. If, as you point out, the MCI cannot even discipline 1 doctor on what basis can you hope that a large number of government medical colleges will miraculously provide quality and free medical care? We should stop yearning for an Utopia of selfless doctors and instead look to the numerous examples wherein well-regulated and free competition amongst businesses has delivered superior service to the people. Having said that let me congratulate you again for your excellent series.

from:  Sivasankar Elambooranan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 21:00 IST

As Mr. Amir Khan bringing availability generic medicine everywhere in INDIA is not a complete solutions . Even a common people have a doubt on a cheap medicine whether it will work or not? That's the mindset people are having mostly. One should have to make aware of that medicine and value, I believe that's the first step to bring a change towards this scenario. Very few doctors are maintaining and following their pledge which they take up during or after their MBBS. Every one is running after money . As we know that we all human being, everyone has their own desires to full fill them and to settle them in a luxurious life . I'm very much sorry to say but may be even Mr. Khan wants to keep his Mr. Perfectionist image alive , I'm saying making TV shows like this is good, though people will definitely aware of what is happening with them. But I ask Mr.Khan to step first himself using his popularity and his charm to help people by initiating and make the real difference. JAI HIND

from:  Sri Krishna Chaitanya
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 20:59 IST

1. Your guests and audience (the words were almost put in their mouth) said that private colleges charge a capitation fee of 40 - 50 Lacs for MBBS, you should have also produced some evidence of such practice. Like you call a victim in all your episodes, why not here? And do the same story Engineering, Architecture, Law and MBA colleges, do you think they are clean? Why target doctors alone? 2. You said Since 2001, government opened 31 medical colleges and 106 private institutes were opened. -Please note that today in India, there are a total of 181 Private and 152 Govt Medical colleges. So the number is not as bad s you projected. Don't project only the time period which suits your story. Either give a complete picture or do not give a picture at all! And also, please find out how many of these private colleges are owned by politicians? 95% of Private colleges in India are owned and run by politicians. It is a nexus between politicians and MCI.

from:  Manu
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 20:52 IST

As our good GDP is of no help to the Health care for the poor Amir rightly calls future reforms to health care for the poor as a dream! His suggestion Rajasthan's Generic Medicine made available to the poor needs to be followed by others states too, may be by adding some more progressive schemes of their own. Yes, Amir,when reforms start with sincerity dreams can come true. Well done again, keep up the good work.

from:  muhammad ahmed
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 20:47 IST

In the name of generic drugs, poor quality drug cannot be given to a poor patient, The best quality drug should be given to any patient in India. There is hell of difference, It's like a quality movie watching in a pirated cd vs in a theatre/original cd. What India needs is not generic drugs/ free drugs. Good quality primary health care. Right to emergency healthcare which includes right to safe childbirth, 100% vaccination, safe drinking practices, protection from mosquitoes, 24 hr emergency services, prevention of lifestyle diseases. In the name of generic drugs and vaccines the local businessmen would push their poor quality drugs through govt agencies. Let us decide should we watch a pirated CD/Original CD.

from:  Avinash Thumallapalli
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 20:32 IST

unfortunately, today education have become business, hence its affect is reflecting in terms improper health care and irresponsible doctors in society and surely its result of liberalization and privatization of education. It's time to ponder over it; otherwise it would handicap our contemporary and upcoming generation. I appreciate The Hindu for providing platform for social cause by means of Amir Khan's column.

from:  MUSTAQ KUNNUR HUBLI
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 20:16 IST

I can not agree with the contents of this letter. As political Leader and former MLA, Sri. Lonappan Nampatan stated, the word Medical has been changed as the Malayalam word ‘MeTikkal’ (Accepting) in now a days. Author Blaming Mr. Amirkhan is required to give answer to the following questions of the common men. 1. Why our Doctors using prescription pads with advertisement of nearby medical shops? 2. Why doctors accepting gifts and commission from farma companies? 3. Why Doctors making the patients constrained to go through several unwanted medical tests from particular labs directing by them? 4. Why the rate of Medical Seats in Private Medical Colleges soaring year by year? 5. Why Ayurvedic Institutions including reputed Kottakkal Aryavaidya Sala is promoting so called proprietary medicines making by simply changing the names of ancient medicines? 6. How is the hospitals became the highest profit generating business?

from:  SHAJPRASHANTH K. A.
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 20:14 IST

In india medical education is a concurrent subject whereas public health is a state subject. So for any policy and guideline to be properly implemented there has to be lot of work on the part of the both the state and central govt. As of now the both central and state health dept are in a deep state of mess and It s high time we take steps to reform it Or else the WHO dream campaign "health for all by 2000" (which wasn't achieved) will remain so through this century.

from:  raj
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 20:09 IST

My personal opinion is that privatisation of health services and education will definitely be a disaster to the poor.Instead,govt. hospitals and schools should maintain quality infrastructure and services.That will be the only way to reach the poor. A recent study showed that index that determines the population above and below BPL is the amount they spend for medication.This indicates that hospitals have become totally commercial.It is because they study in private colleges paying lakhs of rupees and so their primary intention once they become a doctor would be to get their money back.The only solution for this is to increase the number of public medical colleges and taking only those who are capable. The efforts of Aamir khan are worth applauding.And kudos to Rajasthan govt. for such an initiative.Generic medicines seem to be eye opener to the remaining govts and revives people's lost hopes.

from:  Divya Ramakrisnan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 19:54 IST

Hi Mr. Amir Khan, I'm a Post-graduate 3rd year resident student doing my MD Pharmacology from Govt. Medical College. Well its good that you have raised the issue of Prescribing generic drugs. In our college, while teaching Prescription writing to the under-graduates i.e MBBS students, we always ask them to prefer writing salt name or generic name over Brand name, obviously due to cost considerations. But even if it turns out to be economical, it still can jeopardize the treatment quality. In a country like India, where govt rules are so lax & corruption is so prevalent, dubious pharma companies manufacture thousands of dubious medicines, risking a poor patient's life. Unfortunately, our country lacks organizations like the Food & Drug Administration(FDA) of USA which tightly regulates production & distribution of drugs.So unless such agencies come up, we can't risk patient's health by write generic drugs. The solution is to prescribe Low cost branded medicines, with assured quality.

from:  Sukrita
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 19:54 IST

Should we stop to pay our tax to government ? Would it be better to
give our amount to any NGO who are doing for the welfare of society ?

from:  Sukanta Bagchi
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 19:35 IST

Well said Amir , Your show really astounding and creating good awareness among people. Universal health care in India is no more a dream. It is possible with right political commitment and will to do so. The health expenditure of the poor in India is very high and some case we can find their inability to afford to treatment. The government intervention should need to be in some areas like opening of public medical colleges subject to condition they work in rural areas at least 10 to 15 years in their service. Skill development orientation programmes to the youth to open a generic medical shops in far flung areas like NER states and most backward states. Restriction on granting Patents to most usable drugs to the people. Encouragement to the generic production units. Allocation at least 5% to 6% in GDP on development of comprehensive health care facilities , where China and small economies like Maldives spending near about 5.8% in their GDP.

from:  Naresh D
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 19:32 IST

@Manivarmane I have met many doctors and let me tell you none of them are doctors. They prescribe medicine even when it is not needed. Beyond the dangerous limit of long-term usage. Medicines are part of problem. That is a mechanical problem and can be easily solved. The difficult problem is the human chain i.e. doctors themselves. Yet to find a doctor who charges a decent fees. Consider this. You go to a normal doctor and fees is Rs. 200. Time given 5 mins. Every hour he makes 2400. Everyday 19200. Considering he works 8 hrs. Every month 576000. And this is a poor doctor's fees. The fees of a doctor must be limited so that poor can avail better doctors. This will put a hold on insane fees.

from:  Shiv Shankar Dayal
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 19:30 IST

Let me express my deep admiration of Aamir Khan - not as actor, but as social commentator. If more celebrities in India (i.e. actors, cricketers and godmen) drew attention to India's many but solvable problems, the hardwork and basic decency of Indian people will help reach their solutions.

from:  R Gopalan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 19:30 IST

When I saw Nayak (Oke Okkadu in telugu) movie, I never had a belief that one person can change our government systems. Now I am seeing the real live Movie. Aamir saap You are simply super.

from:  srinivas
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 19:26 IST

Dear Readers and possibly Aamir Khan, Efforts are already on to ensure universal free access to healthcare for the people of India. The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) was asked by the planning commission to deliberate on the path towards it. So that it could possibly be included in the 12th five year plan. This resulted in a report of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) submitted to the Planning Commission. Backed with research evidence, this report not just highlighted the possibility but also the path towards the free universal healthcare. Of course there is opposition from some and we may lose this golden opportunity. It seems when I post a link, my message does not get posted. for full text of the report just google 'HLEG UHC PHFI' Disclaimer: I work for the Public Health Foundation of India but was not involved in this process of consultation (though I support it wholeheartedly).

from:  Gulrez Shah Azhar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 19:19 IST

we are having govt.hospitals but with very poor hygenic.this hospitals
can be maintained properly and will help poor people.

from:  R.SRINIVASAN
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 18:48 IST

Dear Aamir and whoever is there for nation,

I wanna to support you guys in all possible ways. The steps taken by you guys are beyond my imagination and hence it would be my previlage to join you.

from:  Sunil
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 18:23 IST

I think I can highlight some of the deficiencies of Amir's ideas. Regarding the generic medicines in our country there is no uniform quality. I myself being a doctor , I can clearly say that some generic medicines doesn't even have proper ingredients in it. The solution is that we need more regulation, that is not possible in corrupt india as almost all of us are corrupted( Except few individulas such as Anna Hazare). The solution is govt. itself should produce generic drugs and sell it in all govt. hospitals. Regarding the doctors professional competency, you can't expect our doctors to have a divine knowledge of diagnosing the diseases without proper investigations and even everydoctor will know how to interpret the test results.The quality of treatment is going to vary widely until we have a uniform code of practice as we have it in western country.Who has to bring this change, it's the professoinals, but we have started it.Our medical education is flawed which need to be revamped.

from:  R.Manivarmane
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 18:18 IST

It is good to see Aamir Khan taking up such important issues but I must
say that Mr Khan himself must stop endorsing Coca Cola. Apart from that
the show is definitely going to shake up a few important people

from:  Sandra
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 18:11 IST

Thanks a lot Aamir !!

from:  Prasad
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 18:07 IST

i really appreciate you for highlighting about the need of public hospitals with attached hospitals because many of the aspirants wanting to go for MBBS can not afford high donation which being taken by private hospitals and by somehow they take loan from bank and try to achieve their goal and after becoming doctor , the only thing comes to their mind is to earn money and they starts to deceive people
so, this point should be taken seriously.

from:  sumit borkar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 18:06 IST

A Grand Salute to You , Aamir!

from:  Salil Zokarkar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 17:47 IST

It’s high time the medical fraternity put the patient first, rather
than themselves or the pharmaceutical companies. The patients, whether
rich or poor cannot be considered as cash cows for the medical
fraternity or the pharmaceutical companies, I did not even know that
medicines the doctor prescribes can be available at a lesser price
too, invariably the doctor always prescribes branded medicines, and
since my knowledge is limited in the area of prescription of
medicines, I would always go by the doctor’s word without questioning.
In fact, the doctor’s do not even encourage questioning them,
regarding the medical assessment or the prescription of drugs. It is
the patient’s right to know, and the doctor’s ought to answer every
question of the patient.
The article by Amir Khan, really throws light on the gaps in health
care we as a nation have to deal with. The government in the right
earnest should encourage stronger and a more effective public health
care system, rather than let private

from:  Keerthi P
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 17:47 IST

Really nice episode 4.
But as explained by Aamir earlier : He can only inform the society but not responsible for any change.

So its very clear, People like us should start some reforms.
Our country needs to reformed....
Everybody say : but few people actually do...
So Technology has to invent some new methods..in which ..the above things..can be done easily....

..........i hope my point is understood ?

from:  varanasi anup
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 17:42 IST

All I know is that as a little girl in Kanpur, India my grandfather was a doctor who was
persuaded by my grandmother & family to open an afterhours clinic in his home because
being a deputy director of local hospitals did not bring in enough income. He refused to take
bribes. "Everyone does it doctor sahib" persuaded his colleagues but my grandpa could not
do it. Eventually he had to close the home clinic because he was losing money. Why?
Because his patients were poor and often the diagnosis was malnutrition so as his little
helper plenty of times I saw him reach into his pocket and give a mother or father money
saying "get your child some milk". He always rode a bicycle. During the 1984 riots when
rioters came looking for the Sardar doctor & his wife he was whisked away to Punjab by my
uncle. He retired there and he rode a bicycle everyday to work at a charity hospital. @jsk05
on twitter

from:  J S
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 17:36 IST

The overall show was an eye opener for the society and governments.The comparision between India and Pakistan was very good.Aamir hope your effort will at least a slight change in the society. Good luck!!!

from:  Abishkar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 17:34 IST

Aamir Khan has tried to express his heartfelt feelings for poor and has written in a simplest possible way to create awarness of the prevailing state of affair for HC in India.He has said he is not a doctor.Great! This is what is obvious and required as a priority for HC.There are many complicate aspect of HC system instead he has highlighted the obvious things do.
The root cause of many problems is the lack of will on part of Govt.People should do what they can do to improve the situation and that requires awareness and that is what he has tried to do by exposing the some facts.The writing is appealing to all common men,professionals and right minded politicians.
I request him to write about general education system also.Like foreign pharmaceutical companies,foreign universites are also out to make education as business like medicines.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 17:27 IST

It is really a good intiative Amir.Go ahead.

Sekar Govindasamy

from:  Sekar Govindasamy
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 17:25 IST

Dear Mr. Khan,

The goal of universal health care reform is critical--nowhere more so than in India. A similar movement with the aim of health care reform is underway in the US thanks to an organization call Doctors for Obama. I do think that if we make great strides in the area of Public Health in this endeavor, we could achieve the dream of every child receiving quality health care regardless of their background. I commend you for shedding light on this issue as well as your efforts toward social reform in India. You remain an inspiration to all of us who want to make the world a better place.
I wish you continued success in your efforts.

Sincerely,
Sharada Modur

from:  Sharada Modur
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 17:01 IST

There are multiple issues here apart from the intentional malpractice
by Doctors
Preventive healthcare: Preventing illness and sickness on which we can
again go on and on about the lack of awareness on this matter in India

Access to healthcare:- This is the solitary root cause of severe
problems in this field. Goto and remote village and find out about
what access people have to health care facilities. Even the nearest
hospital may be several 100 kms away so even the rich people of the
village also dont have this access.

Its the single biggest threat under which every Indian lives today.
What will happen if me or my near/dear one falls ill? Its a traumatic
experience to go through the health care system that lacks any sort of
transparency and just relies on one principle 'your doctor is GOD'.
This God has failed us and taken advantage of us. Time has come to
change this principle to 'My Doctor is for my care'

from:  Gautam
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:52 IST

Thanks Amir for this splendid article.I don't think generic
medicine is too much cheap and there efficincy level is up to actual
medicine.According to my view in india, an Universal healthcare should
be included in policy.So that through out india there is no much
difference in the cost.You are a real hero and thanks for letting us
know about such topics.

from:  Mahesh
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:31 IST

Good Work Aamir ... Keep going!

from:  Shanti
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:24 IST

Its very good that We should have cheap generic medicience available to every one, so that no one died because of highly priced medicines provided by pharma companies.

But do you ever think of how much money pharma company put on research and development to develop new medicience. and how tough is to test the completely new medicience to bring in to the market. Some com. newly treatment take 15-20 years of rigours 4 based testing. If all medicience available in generic way thats mean, big pharma company dont have enough profit to put money for new drugs.

I am not against the generic drug, but the drug which are available for the last 20 years most other basic neccesary medicience like for malaria..dyherea or some common form disease should be available in generic form.

This is my personal view.
I am not working for pharma company not I am pharmacist.

I am engineer in research field. so that I know how much money company spents on reserch and many time without any success.

from:  Ajay
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:15 IST

What a show !! what a thought !! Your efforts, your noble thoughts are
going to help the society in a bigger way.

Great Job Aamir.

from:  santosh kumar behera
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:12 IST

Thanks Amir for this thought provoking article.I am not sure when this
"Dream" will be a reality.Society must stir up and and act

from:  premnathtm
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:12 IST

Hi Aamir,
One more thing, I would like to add here is that the doctors write their prescription in such a writing, that only the chemist with they have their commision set can understand. Other than that chemist, no other chemist can understand thier handwriting. Please highlight this point also in your column.

from:  Naresh
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:09 IST

PINK REVOLUTION of HEALTHCARE in INDIA will only happen when the the
Govt of India commits at least a bare minimum of 10% of GDP for public
healthcare, it is useless to talk about efficiency etc, when there is
really nothing in the pot, so to speak, to serve the teeming millions
of poor Indian citizens. This vital fact has to be really insisted
upon by us the public, or else the Govt will keep on refusing to
implement the citizens right to good health though enshrined in the
Constitution of India. The excuse of lack of funds in not acceptable
at all, please wake up all of us Indians and make the Govt implement
this Pink Revolution of Healthcare now, and change the future for so
many citizens dying in poverty after paying for unaffordable
healthcare! India is 4th from the last among all the countries in the
world in Healthcare spending by the Govt! Shameful but true, so let
Aamir Khan's good initiative be the spark that sets the dream on turbo
boost!

from:  Dr Girish Kumar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:06 IST

I am terrified of the generic drug idea. I am terrified of being
handed a clutch of white pills by the chemist and carrying it away
completely trusting his word that it is indeed paracetamol and not
some betablocker I dont need. We need even our generic drugs packaged
and certified.

After seeing the episode on healthcare and reading this article, it
seems the demand supply ratio of practicing doctors, hospitals,
medical colleges etc is skewed. We need more medical colleges,
hospitals, doctors. We know from experience that anything provided by
govt is sub-standard and poorly implemented - from PDS to education to
healthcare. Of late the Ministry of Education has been talking about a
new PPP model - public-private partnership. We still dont know how
this will evolve. Could this model be adapted for healthcare too? On
the one hand medical tourism and on the other, abysmal facilities and
unethical practices. As always India swings from one extreme to
another. We need to shake this off.

from:  Sumathi Sudhakar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:05 IST

Being a person from the pharmaceutical market, I doubt practicality
of the solution provided by Mr. Khan unless Doctors stop asking for
"commissions" from each and every pharma company coming at their
doors. Moreover, evaluating that the efficacy of generic is at par
with the research brand is also a very important part before launch of
generics in the market. And it is sad to see this part suffering the
most. Launching sub-standard generic drugs can have negative effects
on patients' health. In short, this dream of Mr. Khan and many other
Indians is not impossible. All we need is a motivated, honest and
caring team of health professionals.

from:  Anupam Sain
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 16:00 IST

I really appreciate Amir for bringing out the flaws of our healthcare system even after 60 years of our independence.the greta thing about the show was not only did he raised the isues , he also came up with solution to counter those.One important point that i would like to add that in a profession like medicine where human lives are at stake, merit should only be the criteria to enter in any professional medical institution , there should be no reservation based on caste creed sex and the capitation/donation for getting a seat at these institutions

from:  nishant
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 15:59 IST

Thanks Amir for taking up another very important topic bothering all sensible people.
The doctors & the medicine industry should be blamed for this problem.
I too would now ask doctor to prscribe glimepiride. This is brutal looting of the poor patients & their loved ones. The whole medical fraternity should be ashamed of this & as Alex have mentioned like in US it should be mandatory for every doctor & pharamasist to suggest the least costly drug.
Thanks for creating awareness!

from:  Nitin Gaikwad
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 15:47 IST

First of all thanks for your crusade!
You have expanded the reach of your movement via your column. It is stirring the nation, pseudo government officials, social workers and common man on the street. But above all it has brought us together and we all are talking about it, I pray and hope that it should not hang around as a talking point but something good should come out of it and benefit deserving citizens. I’ve read your thoughts and few of the comments in particular of Mr. N Govindarajan where he cited the other related issue pharmaceutical lobby. The pharmaceutical is a trillion dollar industry, and as we know no businessman will let go its golden goose. I also understand all issues can’t be solved by discussing but your sincere efforts and thought provoking researches are shaking the nation and as long you are leading the pack will follow you. Knowing your perfectionist quality via media I’m sure you wouldn’t sit quietly neither we. Lets dream together and make them come true.

@ Mr. N Govindarajan, great thoughts!

Regards,
Vinod

from:  Vinod
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 15:33 IST

Incredible work. Kudos to Aamir khan. Health care sure needs a change
in India. I am an endocrinologist returning to India for my practice
after my training in the United States next month. In the US I have
not written a single brand medication so far during my training. We
use a lot of generic ones as they are way cheaper when compared to
brand medications. I really cannot comment on the health care in the
US as it needs to take better shape for sure. But definitely as far as
ordering unnecessary blood test or imaging is not possible here
because of the insurance policies as they oversee the need for the
blood test and imaging. Things need to change and doctors need to do
ethical practice in India. While I return to India next month I intend
to the same. My dream of practicing in teaching institute was not
fulfilled due to MCI regulations. Generic pharmacy would be an
excellent idea as they are 100% effective and also very cheap.

This show was excellent and great going

from:  Dr Sruti Chandrasekaran
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 15:18 IST

God bless you amir. The topic you raised will bring a massive change. Generic medicines will definitely help so many people especially in INDIA. You are a real hero and thanks for letting us know about such topics.

from:  kanchana
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 15:02 IST

I missed the first episode, but have now put the programme on record. It is great that someone of his calibre is taking time to make such programmes. Well done and congratulations!
Prosperity for all will happen in Bharatvarsh, if the rich, famous and powerful people stop taking 'their' cut from everything that happens. So much money goes in these people's fat bellies that not much is left in the poor.
My dream is that people of all faiths, will learn to live in peace together and stop listening to their divisive/selfish faith leaders who incite hatred for personal gain.

from:  Mamta
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 15:02 IST

Hi Aamir,

Hats Off for yesterday's show, & I am glad for the topics you are pointing towards one by one,actually are those public health topics,which yet known to all, are most neglected.

I would suggest you to highlight "CLEAN & HYGIENIC DRINKING WATER" in a show,as its fundamental right of every Indian but its not the priority for govts.,I dont know what keeps preventing govts from supplying it, may be,because mineral water & water purifier, RO((reverse osmosis) systems- used in high fluoride areas)selling companies do not want govts. to supply clean water FOR FREE!!

I am suggesting you this because your last show talks about strengthening Curative part of Public Health, now you should aim at Preventive part of Public health.You'll ask, why only water? why not anything else.The answer is that 80% diseases are Water Borne, because it is only thing which goes inside human body uncooked.

Dr. Priyaanca Saxena

from:  Dr. Priyanka Saxena
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 15:01 IST

We acclaim ourselves to be the fastest developing nation!!!
We make proclamations that we strive to be a Super Power by 2020!!!
We entail in day long discussions and sign treaties with our neighbour
countries!!!
But..
What is the use of being a Super Power unless we have populace with
sound health???
What is the meaning of declaring ourselves as an unbeatable democratic
state unless we have natives with a sense of security on their
lives???
This is a request to my friends who are taking up lessons on medicine.
Those who are in the verge of becoming a doctor/medical practitioner..
Please do keep in mind that the profession you work towards , is a
divine one!
Which should be practiced with utmost dedication, commitment and
service-motive mind sets!
The ethics you ought to clutch should never be indulged for the sake
of fulfilling private goals!
HOPE WE HAVE A TOMORROW WHERE THE WHITE ANGELS LIVE UPTO OUR DREAMS..
WITH,
PEACE IN THEIR MINDS.
AND, DIVINITY IN THEIR SOULS.
Thanks Amir!!

from:  Sreedevi Menon
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 14:41 IST

really good job Aamir. i saw ur program yesterday it's really good to
poor and middle class people.

from:  krish
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 14:21 IST

Good article. I specially liked the point which you made that even the poor pay the taxes indirectly then why shouldn't they be benefitted with it and provided with adequate health facilities so that they do not loose a near and dear one.

from:  Kaustubh Rana
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 14:19 IST

The first question they ask is which company you work for! As if i am
unemployed that wont charge me! Next thing, Doctors know that
corporate employees have the facility of mediclaim, so they charge
huge amounts! Its clearcut business and they are not bothered if the
patient can afford it or not.The profession is reports based, the
patient ends up wasting atleast 100 ml of his blood for several tests
done repeatedly over a period of time, you might be having plain fever
but you will be medicated for malaria or even tuberclosis! Some tests
, like thyroid myt give positive results , because the harmones might
get disturbed momentarily, but the doctor will give u medication for
thyroid, which is generally for a longer time. This is out of my
personal exp, I suffred extreme hairloss because of thyroid medicines
which i later found out i was not suffering from! Poor state of
affairs we have, that's why India is still a developing nation!
Everbody here minds his own business only!

from:  Gunjan Arora
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 14:16 IST

the show was moving. i gonna write to our CM to setup generic medicine shops around around our state. I really didn't know these medicines cost were very low until i watched this episode. thank you. God bless you. Thank you for letting this nation know this truth.

from:  sundarraj
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 14:15 IST

Jai Hind,

First of all i want to thanks to Aamir Khan for bringing such issues in-front of us. This show is an eye-opener for all of us. The situation of government hospitals are very poor. The Doctors are not available on time. They prescribe medicine of particular brands only. There are several time situation that doctors prescribe various tests which is not at all necessary.

So i think your show will act as mind-opener for all of us.

Thanks a Lot for presenting a show like this.

from:  Prateek
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 14:13 IST

Aamir Fantabulous!! You are doing a tremendous good to the society by spreading awareness about health services.The particular episode about health services is really an eye opener.It is really shocking to know that only 1.4% of GDP is spent on health services.The government must ensure that benefits of its health related schemes/services reaches to the lower stratas of the society which are the real sufferers.
Also the regulating bodies / watchdogs such as MCI must do its duty sincerely & honestly.

from:  Varun Kathuria
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 14:13 IST

Wish you all the best for your efforts !
People like you are the real celebrities.

from:  Anup Anil
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 14:03 IST

This is great initiative. Aamir khan again proved his versatility with Satyameva Jayate.All these days, we have seen many people who were explaning/addressign the problems without any solutions. But, only Aamir khan is explaining problems with expert suggested suggestions. This must be the motivation for all politicains, who are just criticzing the governemnt. Pointing the problems does not help the society. Easy solutions will help us a lot.

from:  Manu
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 13:54 IST

hi,
although the above article mainly focuses on the availiabilty of medicine and damage done to the poor people by the so called "brand" of a medicine,but i was deeply moved by the instances shared by people during the telecast of the programme,not because i have full sympathy with those people but because i have also been the victim of the malpractices done by our doctors nowadays.Last year in the month of august my father who was suffering from non alcholic liver cyrosis was admitted in an known hospital of delhi.his health was improving and he was recovering well their and doctors were sure that he wil be discharged within a few days and because of this they did some unecessary tests on him and 1 of which was byopsy without prior info given to my mother who herself is a dr.,due to some mishappening during the test my fathers conditon became critical and after a week he died on 4th sep.i wonder what happens 2 common man who r not even doctor and have no knowledge of treatment.

from:  gaurav goswami
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 13:53 IST

Aamir is working hard, and the salute to his way of working against the
bad/poor system. When I saw some of his movies, I felt the spark. Now I
see him propelling high. I know he is making blasts in journalism and
mass communication. Raising awareness is very necessary to a common man.
Really appreciate his work.

from:  NEERAJ KAPOOR
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 13:52 IST

i must congratulate to Mr.amir Khan & satyamev jayate team for choosing the subject which is our basic need that is Health services.which is vary at our income group.the most liked in the article that the feelings of poor & rich are same when they lose someone who is very close.therefore the health services we get will be same for all Indian citizens.the cuts,commissions are very bad habits of doctors which is control by themselves by adopting simple living.they become a real heroes to society if they adopting a simple living & high thinking

from:  chandrashekhar kulkarni
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 13:18 IST

This article shows a mirror to all the doctors and officials associated
with the health care management ("business"). Definitely this is very
major issue and the question here is better management of resources.
India doesn't lack in money but with the morality of people in power.

from:  Gautam
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 13:14 IST

More Govt Colleges will be filled with more RESERVED CANDIDATES not DESERVING CANDIDATES!Also medical field is getting more corrupt because of the Hospitals like saint Johns etc who run it on subsidized rates as the Govt gives them a lot of funds since they are MINORITY INSTITUTIONS! They also receive land on cheaper rates and these hospitals keep there own reservation to hire the doctors and students etc. These hospitals are killing healthy competition among hospitals! Other hospitals Mahavir jain are not privileged!Many Doctors ae very accomplished in Govt Hospitals but MOST of the doctors are there who are incompetent and and incapable and have left many deserving candidates to be there with the help of Quota system!

from:  renuka
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 13:13 IST

dear Aamir
i am basically from the remote village of bihar, so i really know the condition of medical facilities available. the point is that there is no control of government on this sector. private hospitals and clinics charge too much in the name of better facilities and government hospitals are just like a scrap.
in my view in india Universal healthcare should be included in policy. i don't think generic medicine is too much cheap and there efficincy level is up to effical medicine.

from:  Md Marghoob Inam Naghmi
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 13:11 IST

aamir jee we spend around 5 to 6k on medicines for diabetics and HBP,
after seeing your progam are eyes are wide open. i shall only ask for
generic drugs in the shops. god give you long life and keep you long to
serve this sweet nation.... literally with tears in my eyes.... aameen

from:  mohammed zikriya
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:53 IST

As the show satyamave jayete has found out the scheme of the cheap rates of medicines and distributed the knowledge to the whole India is a very good step in spreading awareness , but the problem is with the mindset of the people as they think that cheaper medicines are not nice than the expensive one. They think that by taking cheaper or unbranded medicines their problem will not get cured fast or will bring another new problem to their health.When will this mind set get changed?

from:  Akhil Bhushan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:30 IST

Hi,

I agree to use Generic medicine. But there are so much generic medicines avaliable in the market for a single salt.
Due to which manufacturers are making low quality medicines which even don't cure the disease.

So the production of medicines should be regulated at first place.

from:  Nikhil
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:31 IST

My salute to Amir.All appreciation for "Hindu"to publish Amir's column every Monday.Thought provoking ideas forwarded under this column bring us to gather to raise our voice against the prevailing system.Exchange of thoughts gives us a good knowledge on the subject and exposes to different areas for improvement.Doctors should prescribe the alternative less costly medicine if it serves the cure.

from:  Ravindra Raizada
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:29 IST

aammir khan has doing excellent job by raising social issues which
has become evil to the people of India. yesterday's was topic very
nice i was faced this in my life recently my own sister has passed
way due to illness she has suffering some chronic skin disease which
is not curable but due doctors negligence she has died early it was
worst situation in india only the who have money they can only
survive here
Basically we are from middle class family we cannot afford for super specialty hospitals i was helpless for my sisters condition because i
am still studying i don't have money to give her better
treatment....!!!!!

from:  Harish
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:27 IST

Amir Khan is doing a great service to the nation by bringing out the rot in the health care system.He has done so in his earlier episodes. He has treaded path which others dreaded. To bring out the malady and rot in the system. His views are impartial and the episode is done with great research. He is really great that in spite of knowing that he working against system,crooks and making enenemies he has done so. We salute Amir for using his popularity to the public good.

Thank you Amir

from:  M.Sridhar Reddy
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:20 IST

Great show, I have at least one benefit out of the show that I can go for generic medicines instead of buying expensive branded medicines. The other benefit could be to ask my doctor to explain me why he wants me to go for the certain tests, what he wants to check and how the results will help him determine my problem. Moreover, I can ask him, if he recommends a particular pathology lab, why he wants me to go there and whether he can suggest a lab where I can do the tests at a cheaper rate. People, every tier of the society has something to take away from this show, focus on that and get benefited.

from:  Tapish
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:09 IST

This is a great cause that Aamir Khan has taken up.
I saw his programme on TV 'Satyamev Jayathe' also. I really felt a
sincereity and transparency to an extend in this new endaevour of his.
But all the advertisements and big sponsorships makes me say that 'to
an extend'. May be I am being too skeptical, but spare me for the
corruption-swayed society I am living in!
But I can strongly relate to the ideas being pondered by him.
My sincere support for the wonderful endaevour.
Cheers.

from:  Unni Krishnan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:02 IST

Amir's programme on this sunday exposed the drug mafia who are bent up on ruining the health of we Indians.We are at the mercy of these people, GOD SAVE US ALL.

from:  Vipin Bhatnagar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:01 IST

We will try to buy the generic medicine instead of brand-medicine. We will demand the medical shop guy to make the generic medicine available in the shop. If many people ask for this, The shop guy will think about it and he might take a decision make the generic medicine availability in his shop.

from:  Radhika
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 11:39 IST

If countries like Nigeria can spend 5-6% of GDP on healthcare why
can't we. Let me suggest where can we make cuts.

1. Decrease the % of GDP spending on defense for the next 5-10
years. Fix it at a price linked with inflation. People are dying
inside not because of any external threat but an internal one.
Use the soldiers if you can for productive services. Please do
not tell me they should 'just prepare themselves' for war each
day of the year. Take a month out of their schedules.

2. Introduce a super rich tax or the Buffet tax in India. Maybe a
bracket of 40% tax on income more than 25 lakhs. Spend this only
on healthcare.

3. Increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco further. It is always a
win win situation. If people buy more, more taxes and if people
buy less then lesser spending needed on Cancer etc or better
health of the country.

4. Its time you bring Agriculture under taxes. Maybe on income
more than 5 lakhs, every farmer is not a small or marginal one.
Spend all on health!

from:  Vaibhav J
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 11:32 IST

Such a convincing effort by Amir and Team! Unfortunately most of the
Kannada speaking people are missing a lot thanks to the adamant anti
Dubbing stance.
For any county who wish to have a very good health care system CUBA can
be a great model._

from:  Harsha Kugwe
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 11:33 IST

Great Article..But sadly I have to accept Money is the Power and Its everything. If you have money you get what you want.Our nation and its problem can be solved only by achieving a financial equality. This equality is almost impossible to acheive. I guess everyone knows this " Having more money is equally dangerous as having no money ".

from:  Padmesh
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 11:28 IST

Interesting article! It will be great to elaborate the model of Rajasthan and learn, how generic manufacturers survive in between the nexus of branded mafias? What is earning comparison between retailers of generic medicine compared to the branded ones? How can doctors be enforced to write generic names for prescription? Doctors won't be happy about this for sure.

from:  Deepesh
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 11:26 IST

This was one of the best episodes on TV. Let me tell you this is
now not just your dream. The idea of having generic drugs store
at every place is completely feasible and there will be a day
when it comes true, let me assure you. I have read tons of
articles on healthcare but never knew such a huge difference is
there in the prices of medicines.

I feel completely aghast at the stupidity and carelessness of
the govt. India exports so much of drugs and her poor pay such
high cost for the branded medicines. Whenever I visit a hospital
or a medical store and see a poor man or a lady buying medicines
worth hundreds and sometimes thousands I always wondered if it is
possible these drugs could cost lesser or if the nation could pay
for the poor.

The day will come and it is not very far. Make the issue of
generic drugs store a voting issue the next elections!

from:  Vaibhav
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:54 IST

There is no doubt that our country has a very serious problem regarding medical and health care, I personally have had couple of bad examples and have had innumerable fights with the chemist on the rates of medicines. The prices written on the strips have no control what so ever. Coming to the doctors who are still considered only second to God in our country - Dear Sir and Mams why are you guys doing this ? In my opinion you are the most learned peoples in our country then why ? I know because of few all are getting a bad name, but why cant all the good doctors come forward and throw out the bad fish out of the pond. Who is stopping you from doing that.
Its easy to blame the government or the system but what can we do ? Unfortunately I dont have an answer to this :(

from:  Tarun T Sharma
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:49 IST

Government to take necessary step to introduce Mandatory Health
insurance to each and every citizen and that should be an affordable
amount to everyone. every year we are renewing our vehicle insurance but
we are not bothered about our life insurance. The main thing is many of
us are not aware of this. Govt. to make them aware.

from:  Kishor
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:36 IST

I think 4th one was the best episode of Satyamev Jayate till now. My
eyes were open wide when I came to know about Generic Medicines. In
first 3 episodes what was shown is known to almost everybody, but what
was shown in 4th Episode was hardly known to anybody. Good Work Aamir

Regards,
Neha

from:  Neha
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:34 IST

you are making us think. You have raised a very pertinent question on medical colleges. Private medical coolleges are for profit, it is an open secret that they charge exhorbitant donations for seats. Why wont the doctor who has spend 60 Lakhs try to recoup his investment by writing us branded drugs and make money. Cuba has the best cradle to grave health care system , if a small country that has suffered so much in the hands of US , can have such an enviable HC system, why cant india do it ?The state of our government hospitals are pathetic. We need the governemtn to do more, we have got all our priorities wrong, we might as well have a good HC system than have our cities repainted and remade for foreigners.

from:  Aswin
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:29 IST

In this country, its been going for years and will go for years (Lootmaar).

We are still living in pre-independence era earlier it was British now its our own ministers/bureaucrats/big companies who are minting money.

I always think that Britishers shouldn't have left our country, at-least we had a better governance.

from:  Kalyan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:29 IST

The root cause for this problem is the lack of passion for the
profession. Majority of the students joining for MBBS would have only
thought about how rich they can become later. It's just the money which
matters in our corrupt society. Educating the students about
professional ethics and the importance of a doctor in the society needs
to seriously considered. The black money business in the private
medical colleges must be eradicated. Pay scale for the doctors in
government hospitals should be appropriate. We have long strides to
go.. Thanks to Amir to come up with such a great TV show. It's time
for all of us to wake up and react. Jai hind.

from:  Midhun kailas
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:25 IST

The most beautiful aspect of the write up is the simplicity by which it cam reach the maximum of the reader group. Fabulous. Now, the only thing remaining is that it reaches to the required section of the society.

from:  Manish
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:24 IST

Amir khan is doing good thing making the people should aware of the medical field even though he didn't discuss it briefly. he discussed the problem with resources available within his circumstances.

from:  dharmendra
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:21 IST

Governments should mandate that all Government hospitals & doctors
must prescribe only Generic Medicines. Private hospitals and Doctors
must be mandated to write generic medicine equivalent to Branded
Medicine. Let Patients choose.

from:  Atma Gandhi
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:20 IST

Yesterday's program on dwindling situation of health care was really
good.
Salutes to you and all the people involved in making of "Satyamev
Jayate".
You are doing the very noble cause of spreading the awareness.
The issues you are bringing on the fore-front are the issues dragging
us behind.
Things will certainly change & dreams will come true but for that, we
will need to do our bit & demand for better governance. Everyone knows
that we are having kleptocracy in India but we must admit that we are
being ruled by thieves because as a society we haven't set high moral
standards. We have never ostracized corrupt or criminals from our
society.
We tend to act as whingers OR apathetic, self-deceptive citizens as it
is very easy to whine & crib rather than doing our job honestly and
nurturing integrity. May god help us in coming out of this vicious
self-defeating cycle.



from:  Vijay
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:06 IST

Aamir has rightly pointed that it is the costly treatment which poor cannot afford and pay the price of that by losing life. Government must consider on these issue seriously. Only boasting of high GDP is not that we want we need healthy india.

from:  Rajesh kumar jha
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 10:07 IST

The efforts made by Aamir in bringing up such issues is really commendable.
The degrading condition of healthcare units in the country and costly hospitals etc are out of reach for the common people today. It becomes even unaffordable when the doctors and the system at which they rely deceives them. But in my opinion it's not only the doctors and medical staff who can be held guilty for such acts, It's the system involved which needs to be cleaned .The ever-increasing cost of education system and the corruption in the system leads such professionals with "healing-touch" to act in such a manner. Opening more no of govt medical colleges, increasing seats in medical field, more job opportunity and a check on the growing private medical colleges can ensure a better health care system in the country. And at last these things will improve only if each one of us involved act in a manner which can be helpful for humanity,society and not for self.

from:  Niraj
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 09:47 IST

Dreams should always be grounded in reality. Here is a suggestion to give a solid base to your dreams:
1. The film industry has a huge underclass of support staff - spot boys, dancers, make-up artistes who often work by the shift and get no health care benefits. Instead of waiting for the Government's handouts, take a bold step to start a scheme to provide free and universal health care to them and as initial corpus use the fee you are getting for this episode to kickstart the wellness effort.
2. Generic medicines arise ESSENTIALLY because some pharma company invested huge funds in research/trials/potential lawsuits which is why the original factors in this cost. Without that initial lump sum, there would be no generics, no cheap medicines. So why not Aamir Khan the star help finance a world class drug development center t0 develop and patents medicines customed for the Indian milieu.
Hard money beats soppy sentimentalism any day - Go for it Aamir, we are behind you - SATYAM EVA JAYATE

from:  V Vaid
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 09:19 IST

There seems to be a unholy nexus between the corporate sector and the
doctors. Generally,the doctors refer to a patient to conduct certain
tests through the use of CT SCANNER, MRI etc. without hesitation...Use
of technology in healthcare surely brings about changes, but doctors
must be to some extent rational in deciding which patient really needs
those tests. Even we don't have in our country any regulation which
can control the use/unuse of these highly sensitive healthcare
devices. Drug companies arrange cozy holiday trips and Saturday
dinners for the doctors (among several others)to prescribe their
products... How can you expect that a Doctor will write a generic
medicine instead of a brand?

from:  Dibya J Dutta
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 09:01 IST

How many Nirmal Hridalaya can be viable if there is such in each
district of India.None.N H is viable only because of volumes.Do you
think hospitals in smaller cities and working on smaller volume are
really fleecing their patients?They are providing excellent services
to the life threatening and not so life threatening medical
emergencies 24/7/365.They are not funded by Gov.and have to generate their own resources through the business they generate.Imagine living
in a city with no proper hospital and facing a medical emergency.Pvt
medical care is doing yeoman service.All is not that bad as
projected.Compare the situation in 1990.India is developing and
development will take time.Consider 1000 yrs of slavery to 60 yrs of
freedom.

from:  Ashok Bhatt
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:56 IST

Rome wasn't built in a day and so is all the problems that India faces. But i do believe that solution lies in these thought provoking discussions. What it does is that it brings awareness among us. 'Awareness' is more powerful then 'Education'. We were aware when we got freedom. You will find so many educated people not doing the right thing. What country needs at this moment is awareness. An aware person still have a choice to make, whether to contribute or not to BUT atleast that's a concious decision. Satya Mev Jayte

from:  Prashant
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:53 IST

Aamir khan do you want to take a first step for better health of our
country-stop advertising for soft drinks brands.These are the major
cause of diabetes, hypertention .metabolic syndrome and childhood
obesity.Yes apart from dreaming you can do a lot.

from:  dr kumar Anuj
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:51 IST

@Satya
The move from 1.4% spend to 8% spend is a journey and cannot be achieved with a flick. But it can definitely happen. There are 'n' number of areas where 'spend reduction' can be achieved. There are large multi-national companies who manage to cut their spend, improve bottom-line performance, make their processes more efficient, invest in best assets, all because of competitive pressure. And they achieve this without impacting their operations. The government does not have an obligation to be efficient, as they are not competing against anyone. They do have a moral obligation to resort to judicious spending, and we all are quite aware with what happens with tax-payers money in India. There are plenty of model examples outside India, where governments undertake 'government transformation programmes' to improve their processes, optimize spend, be more efficient and contribute more effectively to national development. All it needs is a commitment from the government.

from:  Priyanshu Kumbhare
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:49 IST

Informative article indeed.. Obviously everyone of us is aware of the problems in the government managed publim amenities, but what aamir has pointed out are some the most common treachery done by doctors which can be easily avoided if only we are adequately informed about the diseases and the drugs. At the same time, it is once again the duty & endeavour of the government agencies to ensure that such geneirc medicine shop are easily available & accessible to the public.

I mean whats the point of having such a genric government shop which is closed 18 hrs in a day & whenever you go there , you find a lock.No one will wait for it to open & will shell out very easily those extra bucks on private stores on so called brand medicine in order to save his dear one.

Lets just try to take generic route when we are suffering from some common infections & pursue the local government authority to open up such health centres.

from:  mahesh
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:47 IST

I do agree that Public healthcare has many facets to its root cause, like Donation in the name of admissions, Reservations, Unethical tie-ups of doctors and pharma companies.. but, the fight should start from somewhere.

It's easy to talk, but to actually try and do something about it is something only a few have the guts to. Hat's off to Aamir. It's a good cause and we should all support Aamir. Yes, it may focus on a part of the problem, but it's a start.

from:  Siddhartha B
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:47 IST

The situation in India health care sector is very dire and a lot needs
to be done. But we should not be looking for easy and convenient
answers. More often than not the natural reaction to any problem is
govt. involvement. Unfortunately, govt involvement brings more misery
than good. Increasing govt spending in health care will only bring in
more special interests towards govt who will try to impose rules so as
to improve their own lot with public money with little returns to the
people. Britain and US spend a fortune on public health with little
help to the people. With increased spending will come pilferage,
medicine companies running to govt to take their product and
regulations against low cost manufacturers. Solution lies with we
handling more and more of our own responsibilities. Why cant the body
that approves drugs also give a list of alternative low cost drugs?
Why cant an NGO run a generic medicine store. Please beware of easy
solutions like involvement of govt

from:  sonam agrawal
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:37 IST

The show on 27th May was quite eye opening. I had heard about it and infact faced it, but this isuue is so serious i had never relized. We need to think seriously on this and thanks to the show to make us aware about the generic drugs. Now the BIG question is how to control human greed. It is not only about doctors but almost every where the same problem exists.

from:  Manit Kumar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:30 IST

We all are social animals. But most of us neglect this fact. Everyone is busy running behind money. Even the government fails to take care of the society. Then who will take care of the poor among us. Who is responsible for all the inhumanities happening around us ?
This is a very serious issue but almost all of us sit idle or shut their mouth when such questions arise. I request everyone to come out from the selfish world and start doing something for the betterment of our society.
We should confirm at least whether the proper medication is available for everyone.
I am so thankful to Mr.Aamir khan , he is doing a great job.

from:  Sruthi
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:29 IST

Really an eye-opener article Sir! The private sector pharmaceutical companies must be pressurizing or tempting young professional doctors to prescribe medicine of their company. These companies are plundering the hard-earned money of "aam aadmi". Government must keep a check on it. Near about 80% of healthcare market has been encapsulated by private companies. I am an engineering graduate from a decent college even then I don't have any single idea about Generic Medical Stores. There is an urgent need to promulgate this information all around so that more and more philanthropic entrepreneurs and organizations can step ahead and open up Generic Stores with the aid of Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. Governments should also be pressurized to do the same. I applaud you Sir for what you are doing.

from:  Amit Kumar Upadhyay
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:27 IST

Hi

In Australia, when a doctor prescibes a medicine, a patient has the ability to purchase it from a non-surgery affiliated chemist. The chemist is centrally qualified and offer the patient the option to buy the generic or branded versions. This is a governement regulation aimed at the illegal profiterieng of the medical professional.

Dave

from:  Da Venks
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:17 IST

Amir, your attempt to bring up these issues for discussion is
commendable, no question. But, you somehow keep missing the state
where most of the societal indices that are markers of the extent the
problems you discuss exist, are at their optimal -- Kerala.
Especially, primary health care. It's got to a point where I
sometimes wonder whether Kerala exists at all in the map of a lot of
Indians ... except as an excellent tourist destination :) I bring this
up, not to highlight Kerala, but to underline what needs to be done to
ultimately solve a lot of these problems: A well-distributed education
system that leads to heightened social awareness.

from:  Krishna Kumar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 08:13 IST

Budgets are not about choices, they are about tradeoffs. If you want to spend Rs. X
on health care then you will spend Rs. X less on something else. What is that
something else going to be Mr. Amir Khan?

from:  Satya
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 07:55 IST

Its only when we dream we can achieve. Health care for all is a dream
worth all our efforts. Growth without inclusiveness is no growth at
all. When I hear about developed countries like Singapore striving to
provide Quality healthcare for all its people, I ask myself why cant
we Indians also provide the same. The answer for it as I feel is
"WILL". There is no Willingness from GOVT. to do so. I hope with time
we progress and healthcare for all will no longer remain as a dream.

Thanks Aamir for asking questions that are worth its time. I
personally feel we Indians are getting into wrong life style habits,
that could increase health care costs. An increased awareness and
continuous campaign by eminent people like you can add lots of value
to life. Preventive health care can help us in a big way.

from:  PV
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 07:52 IST

This is a great suggestion though not for the pharmaceutical business
or the health care industry. They have to have big returns, bigger the
better for research and development! It is also possible that some of
them even subsidize generic medicine by a higher margin on brands. In
a free society we can only appeal to the business like Amir Khan does
and educate the public about generics and brands, and also alternative
health care systems such as Ayurveda and Unani. I teach that whoever
practices yoga regularly, like you brush teeth every morning, will
seldom fall sick! Basic anatomy and physiology Education please, let
us more of it.

from:  schar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 07:51 IST

In management and engineering colleges, AICTE is controlling the fees of private
institutes. They keep a proper check on the intake, library and infrastructural
facilities and fees. At times.on the faculties, their qualification. I am not sure who is
controlling these things in private medical colleges but there should be stringent
rules check by apex body so that admission are fair and neat mind get admission at
least possible cost. Surprise check to be done to control donation money.

from:  nitin mittal
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 07:47 IST

"Can our doctors please write out the generic name of the medication
when they write out our prescription, and allow us to choose the
brand or not.They can, but most of them wont. They are in the
packet of drug companies and will not cut the goose laying the
golden eggs. Like most professions in the modern world, the noble
medical profession too has fallen to pathological greed; starting
imaging centers to refer their patients to these centers to boost
their income, medicare/medicaid fraud, cozy relationship with pharma
companies, gifts and junkets from pharma companies and the list can
go on endlessly.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 07:46 IST

Aamir has touched upon yet another sensitive issue by addressing
health care. Only, he has diluted it by looking at multiple aspects
in parts. I wish he had stuck to quality education at affordable
prices which could have contributed towards making the prescription
and availability of generic medicines possible to many needy people.

What he wants to convey to the policy makers and the patient community
is really diffused!!

Aamir, focus!!

from:  Badri
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 07:25 IST

Amir Khan, I read the first couple of sentences of this column and stopped right there. You say you are a dreamer and that you dream that one day in this country "the rich and the poor will both get the same, good, quality health care". My question is, don't you dream that you will one day live in a country where there will be no poor ?

from:  tara
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 06:51 IST

Aamir is correct partly. But we have to be beware of generic medicines too. In India, we have a lot of small industries making medicines and selling in the market. How sure are we with the content and the dose ? By dose, what I mean is that if a 200 mg tablet is purchased, are we sure that there is 200 mg of the pharma ingradient in the generic medicines? This becomes very dangerous in antibiotics. That is why and how brands come into play. Generic medicines of Indian popular brands such as ranbaxy, cipla, cadilla etc are ok, while unheard companies are to be treated with care.

from:  Joseph
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 06:41 IST

Yes, national development index based on GDP alone is meaningless. It makes sense when
combined with -
- number of health problems, the severity of these problems
- crime cases, court cases, their severity

Together these parameters tell, how well we are doing and where we are headed.

The question of falling standards of neeyat or intention is genuine. One saint told it "single
minded, extended pursuit of physical sciences evaporates faith in God".

Awareness and sensitivity to suffering in society is vital, else law of karma will restore it
through punishment.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 06:34 IST

Aamir Khan has presented a diagnosis of the malaise afflicting health care. However he has not provided a prescription for getting rid of the malaise of donation paid by aspiring doctors to private medical colleges which triggers a quick recovery process after they pass out from patients desparate to get proper treatment at any cost besides prospecting a fat dowry. Less said about the calibre of the doctors churned out by these private medical colleges the better. On top of it the deep rooted malaise of reservation enables the undeserving to gain entry into medical colleges to later on become signatories to death warrants of lakhs of patients. The need of the hour is to do away with reservation which was necessary 65 years back but has now outlived its shelf life. Compulsory service in rural areas is another issue which is anathema to budding doctors depriving millions of proper treatment. Aamir Khan's dream will remain a dream forever.

from:  R.Vijaykumar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 06:17 IST

The reason for a having such a bad healthcare sector in India has definitely to do with
the government policies. The article hits several important issues, but misses few
very important ones. I think the reason for such a severe problem is lack of
accountability by the doctors and hospitals. There is no structural mechanism for
the system to catch if a doctor or a group of doctors while indulging in some
mischief for profit. There should be a greater scrutiny of their work and doctors
should be held at higher standards with a chance of severe punishment, and jail time to reduce the crimes in the name of profession.

from:  vivek
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 04:49 IST

Amir Khan has done yeoman serice by high lighting the huge price difference between Generic medicine and Branded medicine.The State Govts.should make it mandatory to make the Doctors to prescribe the Generic Medicines in the public interest. The Govt.should encourage the stting up of generic meical shops all over the state.But the problem comes when the Doctors are given huge commission by big pharmaceutical companies producing Branded medicines.

from:  KJ Pappachen
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 04:26 IST

Makes a lot of sense!

from:  Akshay
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 04:24 IST

Aamir. AMEN. Thadhasthu (in Samskrit). I wish it comes true, if not now, at least in the distant future. In U.S, in every leading hospital, there will be a board reading "For want of resources, medical treatment will not be denied". And more importantly, whether you have resources or not,the same treatment will be meted out.

from:  Krish
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 04:15 IST

Another great topic Aamir. Even if India cuts its defence budget by 10% we would be able to afford health care for all. Couple of points: Preventive care is so important as with polio vaccination. And stress on access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation is also important. A wholistic approach to health care would be wonderful if we take into consideration prevention and clean environment into consideration.

from:  Hari Shankar
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 03:48 IST

What you have put forward here is excellent by all means.
Privatization of basic medicine is a trend in common times. This
affects the lower middle, and the lower classes of the society the
most. I have seen people who have used all their income to battle for
the health of one person in the family. This affects so many areas in
the family. However, i am still thankful that government hospitals,
and more importantly, genuine individuals who truly care are still
working towards the betterment of the health of the common people. I
am a student, and i recently discovered that i had two cysts in my
ovary and one of them ruptured inside. It called for an immediate
operation. Where private hospitals would charge a minimum of 20 to 30
thousand, Lok Nayak Hospital in delhi charged Rs. 310 for the same.
True, i did not have the luxury of being in an air conditioned room,
but my health was fine, nonetheless. Sad to see that the availability
of even the basic forms of medicine are being curbed.

from:  bipasa saikia
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 03:41 IST

As a physician practicing in the USA, I would like to point out that in many jurisdictions here prescriptions have a box marked DAW ("dispense as writtent") and unless this box is checked, the dispensing pharmacist will prescribe the generic/lowest cost version of the drug even if it is referred to by one of its brand names in the prescription. Implementing this system nationwide in India would instantly take care of the problem Mr.Khan has rightly highlighted of the marked difference in cost between fully equivalent and generic medications.

from:  Alex Kent
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 03:36 IST

Excellent ideas but unrealistic in practice. Part of the problem -
unregulated drug industry. India is the dumping ground of large
amounts of drugs, many of which are banned internationally. How do we
monitor, enforce the sale of *effective* generic drugs? "..the
Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers offers Rs.50,000 to anyone
wanting to open a shop selling generic medicines" - and how does this
Ministry plan to enforce manufacture and sale of medicines that are
legal and effective?

Secondly, "P.S: Can our doctors please write out the generic name of
the medication when they write out our prescription, and allow us to
choose the brand — or not." - Really? How many people - educated,
rich, elite - actually ask the doctor the basis of their diagnosis?
How many doctors actually provide this information anyway, even when
asked? Given all this, do you think doctors will write the generic
names? How can the poor be expected to understand all this?

from:  Sriram
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 02:50 IST

Aamir is a classic example of an actor giving back to the society.He is
a real hero now in the eyes of everyone.
I think actors like Rajnikanth and Kamalahasan should follow Aamir's
steps and help people create awareness about the happenings in the
society.
Aamir has certainly proved that you don't have to come to politics to do
good.You could still do it with stardom.
Long live Aamir's legacy and Satyamev Jayate program.



from:  karthik
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 02:25 IST

Dear Aamir and readers,

It's definitely a dream and a promising one indeed. It's like Bhuvan said in Lagaan, only those who dream can achieve their dreams. Generics can certainly help us get a step closer to providing healthcare to the masses of our society. However, generic medicines cannot simply solve the problem. You have indirectly raised a more important issue at hand Aamir. It's the problem of the pharmaceutical lobby in healthcare, in governance, in medical education, and even in medical policy making. The example of the Rajasthan government surely hits the mark on that. However, it's not just about drugs, their availability or affordability. It's about complete and total healthcare, available to everyone without any form of discrimination or bias. How do we achieve this? I believe we have to start and steadily establish an impartial, nation-wide, inpdendently regulated public health insurance system, dependent on people's incomes, available to all. Any thoughts?

from:  N Govindarajan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 02:19 IST

Oh my God, ur show about health care was amazing. God bless u, keep up the good work

from:  Niveen
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 00:51 IST
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