Med Fraternity not Surprised
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24 April 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
The medical fraternity is united in its stand and glad that the so–called custodians of medical ethics have been brought to book. The raids and subsequent arrest of Medical Council of India president Dr Ketan Desai and a few other officials have not come as a surprise in the medical circles in the city.
The CBI had reportedly seized several crores of rupees from Desai’s Ahmedabad home and charges are that he took bribe to grant recognition to a private medical college in Punjab. The crackdown on corrupt officials has been long pending for the credentials of the MCI have always been under cloud, said city doctors and activists.
“It is disturbing that guardians of medical ethics are involved in such corrupt cases. But, efforts to wipe out corruption is always welcome,”; said Dr Lalit Kapoor from the Association of Medical Consultants.
Over the years, the existence of MCI has been questioned given it lacked judicial powers and did not have any infrastructure to regulate the mushrooming of medical institutes. Also, of the 30 state medical councils, which work on the behalf of the central body, just 11 or 12 are functional. In Maharashtra, the council is waiting to be constituted for almost a year now, after polls were held last year.
Health activist Dr Arun Bal said the MCI had zero credibility and should be scrapped. “It’s a corrupt body. The MCI allows private medical colleges to flourish, while public colleges working for masses are pulled up at the slightest of instance,” he said.
A professor at one of the civic hospitals, who has been on inspections to private colleges, said that most of the private colleges lacked basic infrastructure. “Yet, they get recognition without any hitch,” the professor said.
Ironically, Desai had led a crusade against doctors who were hand–in–gloves with the pharmaceutical companies. Bal said, “Who knows it was not a ploy by the MCI to tcollect money from pharmaceutical companies?”