Skip to main content

Healthcare in Consumer Protection Act 2019, VP Shantha and why you should read the source

There are good journalists and bad journalists. It is the reader's duty to discern between what is right and what is wrong. The problem in the 21st century is that that duty is completely thrown into water under the guise of "forwarded as received".

There are a lot of articles in newspapers talking about dropping the world "healthcare" from the list of services under the consumer protection act of 2019. Many of them have fancy headlines suggesting that healthcare will not be a service that falls under the ambit of the new consumer protection act. At least some of them have written objectively stating where the word is dropped from without going into judgement on what this means.

But many doctors are reading headlines and thinking that the consumer protection act will not apply to healthcare henceforth. What they need to read to know they are wrong is just one judgement by the Supreme Court in the "Indian Medical Association vs VP Shantha, 1995" case.

That judgement was specifically about settling the question of whether healthcare is a service that falls under the definition of service as defined in the consumer protection act (the act of 1986). For ease of reference I will quote the definition from the old act:

" "service" means service of any description which is made avail­able to potential users and includes, but not limited to, the provision of  facilities in connection with banking, financing insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, board or lodging or both, housing construction, entertainment, amusement or the purveying of news or other information, but does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service;"

Notice that healthcare is not specifically mentioned. Supreme Court read this definition and confirmed that healthcare is included in the broad definition of "service of any description" and spelled out conditions where it would be excluded.

Now, here is the definition from the new act:

""service" means service of any description which is made available to potential users and includes, but not limited to, the provision of facilities in connection with banking, financing, insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, telecom, boarding or lodging or both, housing construction, entertainment,amusement or the purveying of news or other information, but does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service;" (emphasis for words that have been added)

Where is the "healthcare" word dropped from then? Well, it is from the draft bill that was introduced.

Now you can read the full judgement on how the new definition also includes healthcare in it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What to Make of Itolizumab?

It is the worst of times. Science is suffering an identity crisis. The world is in dire need of science. Science isn't used to being rushed. "It is a giant and slow churn", said a friend once, "and spews a breakthrough once in a while". Is it possible to make the process faster? That's what everyone is wondering. And praying. And waiting, eagerly. Science isn't used to getting this attention.
"Coronil is 100% effective", said Patanjali folks. "Favipiravir is 88% effective", said Glenmark folks. How to know the truth? Seeking truth has never been easy. Never has it been easy for journalists, scientists, or the common person. In some sciences there are multiple truths. Is medicine one of those sciences? Can there be a single truth in medicine?
I won't use words like epistemology and ontology in this post. (Because I still can't remember which is which). But the question is essentially two:
1. Is there a single truth? 2. Is there a…

Public Health Was Always Broken, You Are Just Noticing It Now

There is this nytimes article about how one pregnant lady who was also breathless couldn't find appropriate care despite going to multiple hospitals. I find it nothing surprising. Our country's public health system has never been able to provide appropriate care to people with medical emergencies (or for that matter, any health issue). Maybe now people are noticing because it comes on news.
There is a limit to how many emergencies can be handled at a time by a small medical team. Even in tertiary care government hospitals, this "team" is a very small one. It usually includes a couple of young doctors - either doing their internship or their residency. And a couple of nurses. And a couple of janitors. It is the same whether you are talking about the ICU or the emergency room of any department. There are no mechanisms for requesting extra hands when there is a spike in cases at any moment. Crises are handled by expediting care (many a times at the expense of quality and…

Understanding Adrenaline Dosage

Have you ever administered adrenaline for anaphylactic shock? I've never had the unfortunate need to. I'm sure anyone who ever does will forever remember the correct dosage. But for me, it is always a confusion. Every time I vaccinate someone at my clinic, I look up the dose of adrenaline just to be sure.

The first problem is the dilutions. Dosages of adrenaline are (or were) mentioned in dilution. 1:1000 & 1:10000. There begins the confusion.

Firstly, let us understand where the 1000 comes from in 1:1000. Have you seen a small vial of adrenaline? That is 1mL. It has effectively 1mg of epinephrine/adrenaline. But why is it called 1:1000? Because 1mL of water = 1g of water = 1000mg. So, the 1:1000 actually refers to 1mg of adrenaline : 1000 mg of water. Unnecessarily complex!

All you had to say was 1mg in 1mL. And that is why this labeling is now being followed in some countries.

So, there you have a small vial - a 1mL vial - with 1mg of adrenaline in it.

Now, let us look a…

Glenmark Lies About Favipiravir

I received from a friend a PDF which happened to be Glenmark's press release about Favipiravir. The release is full of claims that make it sound like Favipiravir is a wonder drug that is going to solve COVID problems. It becomes my responsibility to refute some of these claims, considering how majority media outlets are doing what they're best at - exaggerating an already exaggerated PR claim.
Firstly, we have to verify the claim whether India's drug controller did approve the drug. The way to do that is visit CDSCO's website and navigate to approvals -> new drugs. And as per that, "Favipiravir bulk and Favipiravir film coated tablet 200mg" did in fact receive approval on 19th of June for "the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 disease" as the 18th entry.
I do not think CDSCO publishes details of the approval process, about what evidence they considered for approval, etc. Making these processes transparent would be useful for avoi…