Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Unholy nexus of doctors and Medical Reps - Shame Dr. Soumitra Ghosh of Rittik Clinic

My wife and me went to see Dr. Soumitra Ghosh at Rittik Clinic (155A, AJC Bose Road, Entally, Sealdah, Kolkata -14) today for our recurring stomach problems. We booked an appointment earlier. We were number 13 and 14 in the patients list for the day. The doctor were to be available from 5pm to 9pm in the clinic.

We reached the clinic just after 5pm, checked our names with the compounder and got ourselves seated infront of room no. 9, soon to realize that the doctor was yet to occupy it. We waited and waited. I went out and withdrew money from a nearby ATM and came back. But the doctor was not yet in. I strolled around the clinic and the nursing home compound (the Rittik Nursing Home and the clinic are housed in the same building). I noticed Dr. Ghosh's degrees - MD, Cardiologist, Diabetologist and Chest Physician - on the board near the right side of the entrance. Dr. Soumitra Ghosh is one of Rittik's consultants.

Mr. Ghosh arrived after 6pm. Soon a clinic staff offered him tea. There were 10 to 12 patients waiting outside. After sometime he called in the first patient. It was almost 6.15 then.

It was around 7.15 when we observed that there were around 3-4 people left. We went to the compounder and enquired about the patient number being attended. He informed that no. 7 had gone in. He asked us whether we had come for the first time to see the doctor. We said yes. He then asked us our age and place of residence and noted down the information in a loose sheet. He asked us to pay the fees - Rs. 500 each - for which he didn't provide any receipt (black money!). We understood that we would be going in after two more patients.

Soon, a person, whom we later realized was a medical rep, came and started a small talk with the compounder. The doctor had finished seeing the two patients. It was our turn to go in. But the compounder let the other person (who was engaged in the small talk) enter. We were annoyed. Then 5-6 more medical representatives arrived. One of them interestingly mistook me as a MR. When the first MR came out, we proceeded to enter. But the compounder stopped us and let another MR enter. We protested. By the time, we knew all these newly arrived people were MRs. The compounder asked us to wait and unconvincingly told us that the MR would not take much time. He then allowed the next MR and then the next. We were very angry and asked the compounder to return the money; we were not going to see the doctor. It made the compounder a bit shaken. He went inside, had some discussion with the doctor and again told us to wait. When he again allowed the next MR, we were furious. We demanded our money and told him that we were not going to see the doctor. The compounder again went in, had some talk with the doctor and came out and returned our money. What I made out from partly overhearing the discussion between the doctor and the compounder was that when the compounder informed Mr. Ghosh that the patients were asking the money back, he said, 'give them the money back'. Obviously, the meeting with the MRs was more beneficial to him than attending two patients which would earn him only Rs. 1000.

We feel disgusted and returned home.

What I hear, which may be a common knowledge, is that these medical reps from pharmaceutical companies pay the doctors lot of goodies if not cash as well in return for recommending their companies' medicines in the prescriptions. That's why MRs make more business sense than the poor patients.

Shame on you Dr. Soumitra Ghosh. Same on you doctors who prefer MRs to their patients.

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