New Delhi/ London: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit Indian doctors’ community as hard in his UK sojourn as popular actor Amir Khan had done in his acclaimed TV Program Satyamev Jayate half a decade ago. It was a bitter ‘Modicine’ the community had least expected from him, that too in a foreign land.
Doctor leaders equally ferociously retaliated saying PM should set his own house in order in place of preaching doctors their duties. Indian doctors feel PM’s jibe has maligned their image globally and would make their standing in society more untenable. Holding mirror to PM, the community gave him the taste of his own medicine saying he engaged in small talk and tried to impute his own failures on them.
PM Modi painted Indian doctors paints down when he said in his much touted UK program ‘Bharat ki baat Sabke Saath’ that there is a nexus between doctors and pharmaceutical companies; Indian doctors are more interested in attending international conferences regularly on Pharma’s cost than look after their patients. PM also implied that egged on by Pharma majors doctors push for the sale of expensive medicines rather generic ones whose stores the government has launched.
The Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) and Indian Medical Association (IMA) wrote to PM expressing their anguish, saying there might be some black sheep in the profession but painting all with the same brush he has hurt them, brought shame and humiliations to Indian doctors as a whole. All over the world, Indian doctors are highly respected for their ability and clinical acumen. Now post his speech, the world will look at them all with suspicion.
Dr Ranvi Wankhedkar, National President of IMA the large trade union of doctors, and Dr R.N. Tandon, General Secretary in their letters sent to PM have said, ‘ You have engaged in small talk and have maligned the entire medical fraternity in India with broad brush on foreign soil where medical system is run by 70 percent Indian. Doctors of the country are soft target for suppression. The onus of the mess in healthcare squarely falls on the successive governments.’
Doctors‘s image is in dire straits and is all time low in India. Much of their woe is thanks to actor Amir Khan’s popular TV program Satyamev Jayate wherein they were painted black ruthlessly. PM Modi’s barb has besmirched what was left of their image. It is wondered PM might be miffed because of doctors frustrating his medical education reform instrument bill NMC (National Medical Commission), created by his think tank Niti Ayog . IMA has fought this bill tooth and nail and have stonewalled it so far.
In their letter they have showed PM the mirror underlining India’s meagre budgetary allocation for health, lack of strict price control on pharmaceutical industry, deplorable public health system. They have asserted that they are being made scapegoats for failures of successive governments to provide affordable healthcare.
PM might be miffed