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India's healthcare sector: IMA says negative reports not to impact medical tourism much
India has become a hub of medical tourism and patients from around the world travel to the Asian giant to get well soon. This is because of the patient's belief that in India they could get one of the best medical treatments at an affordable cost. Hence, India has become a preferable destination for them.

However, there may occur some trust deficit between patients from abroad and the country's medical sector after certain reports of the unethical practices going on in the sector. It was said that some doctors in lieu of commission refers patients to specific hospitals and diagnostic labs for various tests. It was also said that doctors sometime prescribe unnecessary tests to the patients.

The country's health minister Dr. Harshvardhan taking cognizance of the matter had said that he would refer the matter to the Medical Council of India.

Now a latest media report says that while Indian hospitals and doctors go unpunished for the unethical acts like above, at the same time the US authorities do not let such illegal things to just go on. A TOI report says that US' Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) has penalised more than six hospitals for some similar unethical practices. And the fine imposed on them is in several million dollars.

The above reports are certainly not in favor of the country's blooming medical tourism industry as well the domestic patients too won't find it good in taste.

Indian Medical Association (IMA) has to say that the negative reports about the country's medical sector will not create any distrust between foreign patients and India's medical sector. Thus the medical tourism won't be impacted.

While saying that the entire medical sector should not be seen suspiciously, Dr. Jitendra B Patel, President of Indian Medical Association reasoned that due to affordability and the quality of treatment offered in India, the patients from abroad won't pay attention toward few such negative reports.

"I think whole medical profession has not to be blamed for this, and looking at the present situation, where the medical services are very costly in the Western parts, looking towards the quality services provided at an affordable prices in India, certainly it will not have much impact," said Dr. Patel.

He stressed that the competent authorities are taking appropriate measures to eradicate unethical practices from the country's health care system.

Dr. Patel said, "But at the same time though it is a good thing that the concealed things are revealed by some of the media persons and the appropriate actions are being taken by the competent authority. The directions have been given by the competent authority to the organization which has the power to do that, so certainly it will have a positive outcome after some time. According to my knowledge, the medical profession in our country at large is a transparent one, much affordable, much cheaper and now the quality services are also upto the mark to the international levels. So certainly, I think there must not be any apprehension regarding this."

Delhi based noted cardiologist, Dr. KK Aggarwal, emphasized that the Medical Council of India and the government are working together to clean the entire healthcare system.

"Medical Council of India (MCI) has taken a strict action against nine nursing homes and nine diagnostic centers. The MCI and the government is very clear in cleaning the system, they don't want any black sheeps in the medical profession. It spoils the image of the country," said Dr. Aggarwal.

He added, "They are taking actions against few doctors who have been supported by the pharmaceutical companies for a international trip. They are also in process of taking action against doctors who are indulging in corrupt practices. They are also taking actions for diagnostic centers involved in giving cuts and commissions. In the next three months we will find the exact actions taken by the MCI. We cannot blame the whole medical profession, few medical professionals are spoiling the image."

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