Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Board of Governors for MCI - the corporate takeover

In the middle of all the packing and goodbyes, blogging is actually the last thing on my mind. But today I received a mail from a friend (who will remain uncredited until I have his permission to post this) about the new board of governors of the Medical Council of India which needed to be shared urgently. It is a sad reality that we face - the corporate sector has truly taken over the Indian medical system. And as always, it is likely that the poor will be left behind..............

For want of time to make my own comments and do my own research right now, I am reproducing his letter in full. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue which I hope to revisit sometime in the future.

Dear friends,
This is with regard to the constitution of the new Board of Governors for the Medical Council of India. Kindly note the following points -

1. The following are the new members - The new board, headed by Dr K K Talwar (former Director, PGI, Chandigarh), includes Prof K S Sharma from Tata Memorial Hospital, Prof Harbhajan Singh Rassam from Max Hospital, Dr Rajiv Chintaman Yeravdekar from Symbiosis International University and Dr Purushotham Lal, a chairman of Metro Hospital.

2. All of them excluding Dr Talwar are from the corporate sector, leaders in corporate health care (profit oriented health care), without experience in basic medical education or research.

3. Not even one person from the previous BOG has been included. This raises the issue of continuity of working of the new BOG.

4. 4 out of the 5 are superspecialists and 2 of them are cardiologists. I do not understand how this would help a public health and family practice oriented system of medical education is the crying need for the country.

5. Except Dr K K Talwar and Prof K S Sharma, I could not find any research material from any of the other members. I’m sure that you will understand how pathetic it is for our country to have a BOG for the supreme authority of medical education to have 3 of the members without any research paper.

6. The representation is very skewed to the North of the country. In fact 2 people are from Punjab and 2 from Maharashtra. I wonder how the whole of the rest of the country has been ignored.

7. Our country still in the grip of infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis etc; maternal and child health care in most parts of the country is still very poor – I have my serious doubts if these should be the members who should be deciding about the planning of medical education in India.

8. The last point is that one of the members, Dr Purushotham Lal had been accused of conducting unethical medical trials involving gene therapy in the past. I’m not sure of what the outcome of the inquiry was. Kindly see http://pbtindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Lancet-May-5-2001.pdf. Kindly also see http://pbtindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Mail-Today-May-17-2011.pdf for more details of the members, the authenticity I’m not sure.

What we should have done is the following – Representation from the following -
1. Central Government Health Care institutions like the AIIMS, PGI-Chandigarh, SCTIMST-Trivandrum.
2. Medical Colleges – both private and public
3. Healthcare Research Institution
4. Public Health Institutions
5. Health Care NGOs including Faith based NGOs who have contributed immensely to health care in India.

I hope you would be able to raise this up with authorities in government you know. Please also forward it to whoever could facilitate to oppose this move from the Minister of Health.

Thanking you,

P.S. I have some reservations about point number 6. Being an idealist, I like to think that we are all Indians and try and leave it at that, forgetting regionalism as far as possible. Of course, I have burned my fingers with this attitude many a time!!


  1. very pathetic state of affairs..i think we should raise our voices

  2. oh oh! Although an outsider to the medical profession, I can still see the danger in having such a leadership!

  3. Arpit,

    Let me present a different view.
    "Except Dr K K Talwar and Prof K S Sharma, I could not find any research material from any of the other members"
    How many of us see good clinical trials conducted in INDIA. It is mostly company sponsored or pharma oriented. Though there are many basic research happening. Good clinical research is still in infancy. So it is not correct to expect that kind of research credentials from these men.

    We have seen how MCI was run when it was left to members from Public sector and govt institutions. Is it not a welcome step to give it to people who are better administrators.

    Tata Memorial Hospital is not a "corporate hospital" and it is indeed doing good work in the research front.

    Faith based NGOs ...??? I would beg to differ ...as i wish people keep religion out of health care and administration.

    Dr Purushotham Lal had been accused of conducting unethical medical trials involving gene therapy in the past. I’m not sure of what the outcome of the inquiry was...
    For a researcher in India this is the fear of doing clinical research...
    "ALL ARE GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT..." and this tag will remain with him and will be pasted in his CV as long as he lives.

    Any individual who has had a 30 yr career will have had some one or other throwing dirt at him. So to insist that we should have spotless people at helm... Utopia i would say.
    (Look at the CVC matter... Govt has still not found a replacement ...who is so called " spotless"

    It is easy for us to sit at the back and criticize. We as individuals should bring in the change. AND should believe and support the administration to do what they are supposed to do.

    If you look at Europeans they are perfectionists with everything...and they do not have the "chalega" attitude. But can we be perfectionists with everything in such a populous and developing country like INDIA. Every administration...every development every change will be stalled if we seek ultimate perfection...
    So in a true sense in INDIA please do not search for the 100% people...much rather look for the "95% +/- 5%CI people"

    My larger point is let us support / criticize the actions of a committee rather than the committee itself...
    In Kerala's matter (as mentiond by SIBI in his Fb..where you blog is inked)...the Govt nor the PVT med colleges have not decided what they want to do with the seats... and now blaming MCI for not recognizing it... I hope it is fair for MCI to say that times up now look at next year.


  4. @balu...in kerala"s case..it is the secret nexus between the govt(both presemt udf and past LDF)and the pvt colleges run by "saints" and also LDF ruled pariyarum THAT this year the PG interview was purposefully delayed..This yaer only they got the PG seats after BRIBING MCI..u AND i know how MCI inspection occures and many of our knowns hav also attended the inspection for 2 days and got the money...so its not a big deal now...It is the unholy nexus between the pvt mangements(xtian mangements who hav already filled the pg seats) and the some govt officials and NOW mci..THAT this state of affairs had occured..Had it not been for the media to expose these issues,nobody would hav responded to this turmoils...i appreciate ur postive attitude reagrding MCI members,but reality is different

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