A patients' body called People for Better Treatment has rallied behind Bollywood star Aamir Khan for focusing on the "rot" in the Indian healthcare delivery system during his popular television programme.
The actor, who hosts the Sunday television show Satyamev Jayate, has been the target of protests by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and a section of the medical community for generalising about medical negligence and corruption in healthcare in the show.
The IMA bigshots claimed that the television show has given a one-sided picture of "medical negligence and corruption" in healthcare. While some medicos have demanded an apology from the celebrated actor, some doctors have threatened a defamation lawsuit against Khan for "slandering" the medical community.
"The reason for such an overtly exaggerated response from our healers to an ordinary television program is bewildering indeed," president of People for Better Treatment, Kunal Saha, said in a statement.
"The shabby condition of Indian healthcare is a common knowledge for the ordinary citizens. Reports of horrific deaths and injuries from alleged "medical negligence" in hospitals and nursing homes appear almost on a daily basis in the news," Saha said in the statement.
Aamir in a still from Satyamev Jayate
"There is no denying that the healthcare system in India has been riddled with negligence and corruption. Doctors involved with other Machiavellian activities that are clearly against accepted medical ethics can be found in almost every medical office and hospital," the statement said.
He alleged that acceptance of "commission" from medical laboratories for referring patients and taking "expensive gifts from drug manufacturers" for writing prescription of a specific drug has become an "acceptable and shameless practice" by many of our healers despite the presence of stringent laws against such unethical behaviours.
"Deep-rooted corruption has plagued even Medical Council of India (MCI) - the highest regulatory body for control of healthcare education and medical practice in India," Saha said.
"In fact, at the present moment, MCI is being run through a stop-gap measure with an Adhoc committee," he said.
"Little wonder that issues pertaining to "medical negligence" have come to the limelight in the recent years in India. Mr Khan hosted the television show focusing on corruption and negligence in healthcare seemingly to underscore this popular theme which is of great significance in Indian society today," the statement added.
While on the one hand, the programme exposed the rampant corruption in the medical system, it also underscored the noble work done by many compassionate and honest doctors, said Saha.