Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Written by: Jemy Mathew
The medical profession has been considered the most honored and respected profession among all. The selfless services provided by the doctors, nurses, and other Specialists can cure and heal the pain of the patients, maintain health and well-being, and provide relief to the patients who can't be cured of their disease. The power to save a life, to reduce and heal the pain, to console the sufferings of the patients, and to help in bringing a new one into the world are the powers that are vested with the doctors only. Medicine aims to maintain health and wellbeing. Most of the patients blindly trust doctors considering them as equal to God, curing their ailments.
But now some people enter in this profession with the desire to earn money or for personal gains, start to consider it as a business to earn money. Their greed makes them do malpractice, illegal businesses, and accept bribes for their benefits. They make a fool out of the patients who trust them with their lives. This leads to corruption which in turn leads to the destruction of many lives. They don't understand nor care about the problems that arise due to their crimes and desires.
Corruption is considered as the abuse or misuse of entrusted power or position being honest towards the duties, responsibilities, and the society for their gain, leisure, power, etc. Corruption prevails in every profession such as the employment sector, financial sectors, educational institutions, religious organizations, government including the health care sector. Corruption in the medical field directly affects the lives of many people seeking care from doctors. They destroy the trust that we have in them. Common people are now scared to go to a doctor for treatment. They started to just take rest at home avoiding going to the hospital. Even when someone tries to raise their voice and protest against them, they are labeled as "whistleblowers " and avoided.
Corruption took place even in ancient times when people started to live together. Some crimes disappeared with time but many crimes took different dimensions and magnitude, corruption is also one among them.
Reasons and resultant crimes from corruption
Lack of transparency is the major reason for corruption. It has been estimated that approximately $455 billion out of $7.35 trillion spent is lost to fraud and corruption each year. It is a matter of fact that 45 % of global citizens believe that the health sector is corrupt according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 1.6 % of annual deaths of children under 5, i.e, more than 140000 deaths are one major impact of corruption. 17% of people worldwide have been forced to pay a bribe when involved in the health care sector.
In this covid-19 pandemic, where the whole world struggles for lives, the weaknesses in the health sector have been exposed. The rush for vaccinations, treatment, technology, etc has created many opportunities for lack of transparency which ultimately led to corruption. Corruption causes inequality, the poor and marginalized people are being neglected, and wealthy people are treated with high facilities causing poverty in the society. Fake, Low-quality medicines are being supplied to the patients, which may worsen their condition. Fake doctors with no license in the name of treatment are robbing money from the pocket of many patients. Some doctors are involved in the black market and involved in selling, removing, or transplanting organs of patient’s especially old-aged men and little children through surgeries without their consent and awareness are the biggest scam happening across the world causing the deaths of many. Selling drugs and medicines without any authority, facilitating illegal abortions, doing required surgeries and tests to drain more money from patients, faking medical certificates, helping criminals to escape from allegations of their crimes, harassing, abusing, and blackmailing patients coming for treatment are also some common malpractices. Trafficking of newborn children and selling them to buyers with huge money. The world has gotten scarier than before.
Protection of law in corruption
Medical corruption causes economic crises, human resources, and risks the lives of people which in turn violates human rights such as the right to equality, education, health, and adequate housing. Various laws other than the Indian Penal Code 1860, try to restrict corruption such as:
The Drugs and Magic Remedies 1954 to control and prohibit the advertisement of drugs for certain purposes of remedies claimed to possess magic qualities and to provide for matters connected
Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940for regulating the import, manufacture, distribution, and sale of drugs and cosmetics
Indian Medical Council Act 1956 providing reconstitution of the Medical Council of India and maintaining Medical register for India
Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994 to prohibit human trafficking and illegal organ transplantation.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 for preventing illegal abortion.
The Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 is the major anti-corruption statute in India. It punishes if someone (public servant) tries to have any undue advantage and the provision of such advantage by other people.
Section 7 deals and punishes offenses related to a public servant being bribed.
Section 11 punishes a public servant for obtaining undue advantage without consideration from the person or victim concerned for up to 5 years and a fine.
Section 13 Punishes a public servant who is found to commit the offense of criminal misconduct.
Related case laws
In Dr. Poovendran. T vs The Medical Council Of Indiaon 29 April 2015, the petitioner was a medical practitioner. The corruption branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation sent a consolidated list of 131 doctors who are not in the actual faculty payroll of the institute who attended 1 to 3 MCI inspections to the Medical Council of India to take strict actions against them.
In Karnataka, K.H. Jnanendrappa and K.M. Channakeshava, who were doctors by profession, made fake medical certification for Abdul Karim Telgi who was accused in a multi-crore stamp paper racket to get bail on the ground of health problems. Hence for issuing fake medical certificates and receiving bribes, they were held liable with 7 years imprisonment including a fine of 14 lakh rupees each.
We should be concerned not only about the health of a person, but also the health of our entire society.
- Ben Carson
A healthy individual constitutes a healthy society, which is the power resource of every nation. Corruption destroys mankind. Corruption has reached its peak, people are getting greedier, and they forget their professional ethics and start to find a way for making money. But they don't know the fact that the bloodstains on their hand can never disappear. Our government has failed to prevent corruption, especially in politics and the medical field. Nowadays, People visit a doctor with mixed feelings of hope, fear, belief, and dilemma. We as a part of society should fight against it. We should always raise our voices against these crimes. We should decline and report such people when they ask for bribes
SAY NO TO CORRUPTION…
Transparency International, available at the https://www.transparency.org/en/our-priorities/health-and-corruption Indian Penal Code Act, 1860 ( Act 45 of 1860) the Drugs and Magic Remedies, 1954 (Act 21 of 1954) Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (Act 23 of 1940) Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (Act 102 of 1956) Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 (Act 42 of 1994) The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 ( Act 34 of 1971 ) The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 ( Act 49 of 1988 ) (2016) SCC 436  “Telgi, 2 government doctors “ The Indian Express July 12, 2017, available at the https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2017/jul/12/telgi-2-government-doctors-acquitted-1627542.html