Every business or industry remains in business if and only if it provides some solution to the society. Isn’t it? Guns and grenades are there for providing security to borders of country, however bad it sounds when some mad-man opens fire injuring or killing innocent people but the industry and its prime motive remains. Healthcare is a similar industry which tries to save – as against the concept of weapon manufacturing industry – lives.
“Profit based healthcare” is interesting point to ponder upon. There is a saying in Hindi – “Ghoda agar ghaas se dosti karega to khayega kya?” I dont know the exact idiom for this in English, but we may say – “deer and tiger can not walk together” or “what will a tiger eat, if it befriends a lamb?” It is interesting to write on healthcare and profits. It is a perfect conflict. It is fine to have profit when doing business, that profit makes one live life comfortably. The point of a moral dilemma is – how much is too much? What should one select social good vs individual benefits? Social requirement vs greed! If there is no possibility of profit, would anyone consider getting into this industry? Would the industry survive? If this industry does not survive can we as human survive? Effectively, it is a circular logic and therefore a dilemma too.
Before getting into these questions let us first know healthcare and profits a bit. Healthcare is defined as maintenance or improvement of health of human being. This could be done by any means right from diagnosis to treatment. Healthcare involves health professionals and other health related professionals include – pharmacists, medicine producing companies and insurance companies – in some ways specially where cost of healthcare insurance is a huge business. Profit is excess over the revenue or the money a firm / individual saves after all the expenses incurred to generate some revenue.
As per some data healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing covering as much as 10% of GDPs of developed countries! At the same time healthcare is a basic necessity. The 10% of GDP and industry growth rate makes healthcare a lucrative business instead of a social / welfare work. No question on running a business successfully and making money, no one can argue on that, but making a hotel out of a hospital (many large private hospitals in India), charging exorbitant fees, prescribing expensive (or a preferred brand) medicine are the questions one may ask on expensive healthcare and thus making healthcare more of profit based curse on society than a basic necessity.
Last month, one of my family member underwent an operation, insurance cover helped us to a large extent. Currently, also I am writing this blog post sitting in hospital. Insurance is another thing which is good but again at times makes healthcare expensive. Though, health insurance is good to have in India. India also happens to be relatively cheaper compared to developed world.
In India another difference is that Doctor’s write brand name of medicine which makes Doctors as primary customers of pharma companies a news here (Doctor’s junket). There is a different turf on which the pharma world is contesting in India that is IPR a much talked about case in India Novartis Vs Union of India WSJ news. Recently, couple of doctors were imprisoned in Mumbai for running a kidney racket (Hiranandani Hospital Powai). Is it what we call healthcare? Nope that is criminal or only profiteering there is no health “care” in that. But if we are talking about expensive healthcare, there has to be a discussion on how much is too much?
I have only understood these concepts for live and profession – moderation, balance and compassion, what have you? Check Ramana uncleji’s and Shackman uncleji’s opinion on Profit based Healthcare on their blogs.
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