ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

M K UnnikrishnanSubscribe to M K Unnikrishnan

Healthcare Inequity and Physician Scarcity

The massive scarcity of physicians in India, mainly in rural areas, prompted the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to propose a three-and-a-half year Bachelor of Rural Health and Care degree designed exclusively to serve rural populations. The fierce opposition by powerful medical lobbies forced the proposal to fade away. This paper emphasises the importance of "task shifting" and "non-physician prescribing" in the global context and argues that non-physician healthcare providers would not only increase availability and accessibility to rural healthcare, but also provide an empowered second line of authority, adding to the checks and balances to the exploitative prestige-based hierarchy that pervades this knowledge-intensive service.

The Emerging Environmental Burden from Pharmaceuticals

The enormity of pollution due to pharmaceuticals in India has caught the attention of researchers all over the world. This was due to the near extinction of vultures in the Indian subcontinent in the 1990s caused by diclofenac and a recent study in 2007 by Swedish scientists on pharmaceutical effl uents in Patancheru in Hyderabad. The massive outsourcing of pharmaceutical production by the west has made third world nations like India a victim of unbridled opportunism. As the west wakes up to the environmental implications of "pharma pollution", Sweden's Medical Products Agency recommends a reduction in outsourcing and revisions in pharma manufacturing practices. Would these exhortations reduce pharmaceutical pollution in India or would they adversely impact India's advantages in the global drug market?
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