Healthcare in Kashmir is hampered by unethical practices at private clinics
Healthcare in Kashmir is hampered by unethical practices at private clinics

Baramulla, a reputable physician with over eight years of private practice, was recently ejected from his clinic a second time for refusing to give patients too much medicine.

The doctor refused to abide by the requests of the clinic owner, who also runs a pharmacy inside the clinic. The doctor had previously encountered a similar scenario in Sopore town.


This is a common practice among healthcare workers in north Kashmir.

This episode has brought to light a troubling pattern seen across Kashmir, especially in the Baramulla area, where medical ethics seem to have been sacrificed for financial gain.

In the north of Kashmir, many physicians work in privately owned facilities with accompanying pharmacies.

These businesses have come under fire for pressuring physicians to write extra prescriptions for drugs that may or may not be related to the patient’s condition.

A doctor is requested to leave the area to make room for another doctor if they refuse to comply with their demand.

Even more alarming is the predominance of physicians working at clinics founded by their brothers or other close family members, where patients are pressured into paying for needless drugs and performing pointless medical procedures.

Patients who are already struggling with financial difficulties are unfairly burdened by this practice.

Both healthcare professionals and citizens have expressed serious concerns about the moral conundrum of overprescription.

In these places, where profit comes before moral medical practice, the patient’s wellbeing seems to be jeopardised.

The worried locals claim that this immoral practice is widespread across the majority of Kashmir. Doctors are often only permitted to practice in privately held clinics or polyclinics when they recommend more medications, mostly for financial gain.

As part of an agreement with clinic owners who provide them with room to practice, some physicians participate in this activity.

Many physicians in the area have made investments in these clinics, or polyclinics, where they also possess an interest in the adjoining pharmacy, according to Fayaz Ahmad of Baramulla town.

Over-prescription has become the norm in an effort to swiftly recover investors’ costs.

These polyclinics also make use of testing laboratories to increase revenues at the expense of patients’ suffering.

“The state administration has not stepped in to address this unethical practice,” Ahmad said. “Doctors are free to prescribe more medications, draining the finances of their patients.”

Another local, Muhammad Ashraf, shared his experience of getting a prescription from a doctor who worked in both a public hospital and a private clinic. He said he found that the medicine was easily accessible at the clinic run by the same doctor, but that nearby pharmacies lacked the stock.

This demonstrates the complexity of the nexus that this practice involves.

Dr. Bashir Ahmad, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Baramulla, highlighted that, as there were no particular regulations to address such practices, conscientious knowledge and care for society must prevail in these circumstances.

The focus continues to be on the need for extensive changes to safeguard the wellbeing and financial stability of the patients in Kashmir as the medical profession struggles with this ethical conundrum.



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