The Bollywood actor Aamir Khan is the master of the publicity stunt. Just before 3 Idiots was released, he got into a tiff with the author Chetan Bhagat on whose book the movie was based. Even as Peepli Live! was making news, he got into a row with the movie’s masterminds: Anusha Rizvi and her husband Mahmood Farooqui.
So, the news about the Indian medical association (IMA) taking objection to Khan’s Satyamev Jayate episode last week, in which he turned the spotlight on medical misdemeanours, should be taken with a pinch of salt. Still, the question must be asked: has Aamir Khan exposed India’s worst-kept secret or only scratched its surface?
In the said episode, Aamir Khan showed the Sunday morning TV audience how doctors take a cut from pathological laboratories and specialists to refer patients, how patients are misled to make them undergo unnecessary and expensive treatment; and how doctors are paid by pharma companies to prescribe specific medicine brands. Victims spoke openly and bravely of how their illnesses were exaggerated for the personal gain of doctors, etc.
Now IMA wants an apology from Khan for having “defamed” the medical fraternity and for having given only one side of the story. There is talk of legal action although IMA’s honchos admit there are “black sheep” in the profession. So, is Aamir Khan right in exposing medical frauds, or is the IMA barking up the wrong tree?
And what is your worst story of medical malfeasance?
External reading: Shaming the Hippocratic oath