Unnecessary tests, investigations, medicines etc. are a medium of looting patients!
In the medical field, doctors and hospitals take disadvantage of patients’ helplessness and ask them to get various tests/ investigations done; patients are sent to certain medical stores, and the bribe through it is on a percentage basis which is later accepted as ‘commission’. Such ‘cut practice’ is going on in the State on a large scale. A committee of experts was set up by the Government on 27th July 2017 to pass a law against such malpractices. The committee prepared a draft of the Bill, but no action has been taken on the same in the following five years. During the Corona pandemic, it has been observed that doctors, pathological labs, and hospitals have extensively looted patients. While this issue has become very sensitive, ‘Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad (HVP)’s President advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar has asked the Maharashtra government when it is going to operate on doctors’ ‘cut practice’.
HVP has sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the Health Minister, Health Secretary, Minister of medical education and drugs, and Secretary of this department. The committee comprising of retired Director General of Police Pravin Dixit, Dr. Avinash Tupe, Dr. Sanjay Oak, Dr. Abhay Chaudhari, etc prepared a draft of the Bill as ‘Maharashtra Prevention of Cut -practices Act, 2017’ and it was kept on the website of the Directorate of Medical Education by the medical education director for viewing and obtaining suggestions and objections. On seeking information under the ‘Right to Information (RTI)’ Act, it was informed on 23.8.2021 that the draft of the Bill was not submitted by the experts’ committee and the entire file related to this law was sent to the Minister of Medical Education and Drugs on 18.5.2021; thus the department has wriggled out of the situation. Advocate Ichalkaranjikar has said in the memorandum that probably those involved in such ‘cut practice’ know where exactly the process has been ‘paralysed’ for the last 5 years.
Advocate Ichalkaranjikar has stated further that the committee posted the draft Bill on the website but there are several shortcomings even in the draft and one may wonder whether the proposed law is meant to stop the cut practice or to make it official or to find loopholes in the law. There is a provision to catch only the small fish in this law, but the big fish i.e. the pharmaceutical companies and hospitals have been given leeway. There is also a provision in the first stage itself, for getting reimbursement from the complainant in case the complaint is found to be false or has resulted in defaming the doctor. No law has such provisions; therefore, it seems to be a case of letting go of the real thief and punishing the innocent person. This needs to be changed and we advocates are ready to help the Government in this matter, stated advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar.