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Ethics is the touchstone of medical profession. Since times immemorial there has been a battle of attrition between the ethical and others in the profession and continues even to this day. As per Socrates, any person knows what is truly right will automatically do it. This thought doesn’t seem to the order of the day. The Hippocratic Oath is a oath historically sworn and supposedly adhered to by healthcare professionals to practice medicine ethically and honestly.

From the days of the Hippocratic Oath till today it has been a roller coaster of medical ethics thoughts, codification, related violations, enforcement, rectification and the like. Consumerism completely changed the rules of the game. The medical service was henceforth to be treated as any other service legally. The law provided the real tooth to the end user. What the doctors failed as a profession, the law finally forced it to be enforced.

Nonetheless, the situation as not changed much. The business of medicine and huge capital costs of medical infrastructure & maintenance with the grandiose designs of profit maximization has made the medical fraternity a tool in the hands of big business. The food & drug administration has also not played a proactive role to stem the rot.

Though we have best of the doctors and also an excellent medical infrastructure yet the present business model of the nexus between manufacturers of medicines and equipment, diagnostic world and the medico has become a threat to the public health of this country and also its  enhanced cost.

Medical ethics is not negotiable given the nature of the medical profession and the only way out of morass the medical profession in, is a complete attitudinal change with corresponding changes in all the relevant areas of medical services. A roadmap is long and arduous nonetheless achievable.


Sanjay Sahay

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