PHM India: Open letter on increasing corruption in the private medical sector

25 Jul 2014

The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) wishes to express its deep concern regarding recent extensive reports in the media, which have highlighted the all-pervading nature of corruption in the health sector. JSA would like to recall and reiterate the main features of corruption in the private sector in health care and call upon the government to act firmly against this. Such corruption leads to huge increases in the costs of care, causes impoverishment and compromises health outcomes for individuals and for society. JSA has also highlighted and mobilized against corruption in the public sector and advocated the policy initiatives needed to curb this. But in parallel it has also always noted that corruption in the private sector is equally, if not more prevalent, and has a far greater effect on impoverishment. Private sector corruption is also in danger of becoming the acceptable norm of behavior, to be universalized by policy. The worst aspect of private sector corruption is the all-pervasive feature of kick-backs and commissions for referrals. That they secure an unfair market advantage is one of the problems. But the much greater problem is that these are in essence bribes paid to secure unnecessary diagnostics and treatments.

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