Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Aamir today took on Doctors head on and challenged their God complex on national television. It will have a small effect somewhere which I am sure will be life changing for some, but end of the day Doctors are made to go out and earn money in order to break even with their educational expenses. This is a fact and is caused due to the failure of our system due to its inability to provide good quality public education (primary upwards and not just professional courses). So is the blame entirely on the student who has a dream of treating the ill? Not entirely.
Now I am no expert on medicine and the profession of treating (or practicing on) patients, however I am an employee of a reputed pharma company and today I do have a bone to pick with the Satyameva Jayate guys. I think that whenever you are trying to inform people with issues that have an impact on perception towards good or bad, the communication should be equivocal and everyone has to have a chance to explain their side. The show dealt with the issues of Corrupt Doctors brilliantly and it was almost wholistic. However, since the customer was facing the judgement, the seller (pharma companies) were naturally dragged into the arena.
Whether the Medical Rep bribed the Doctor or the Doctor asked for favours form Medical Reps? Answering that is like finding a solution to the Hen and Egg conundrum, so no use wasting time on that. The problem I had was the take on Generic Drugs and the Pricing of medicines.
Here it was a propaganda saying generics are a better and cheaper option and branded drugs are evil and force individuals to bankruptcy. Cost of making all Drugs is very low and pricing them high is unfair. BIG FAUX PAS.
The Show needed to speak about the following things too:
Branded drugs are sold by companies who discover them. A medicine hitting the shelf has to have passed form the most stringent of testing norms and safety procedures in order to be declared safe for consumption. The process from discovering a molecule to actually administering it to a patient is an extremely arduous, lengthy and expensive process. For every medicine hitting the market, more than a hundred molecules are rejected, but the entire process has to be carried out for those rejects too, and this cost has to be accounted for and recovered from that successful molecule. Now the company who brings this molecule to the market, is a pioneer, naturally will launch it as a Brand and earn a premium. Rightfully so as it did all the effort and at the end of the day its a business for GODS SAKE. Generic companies are freeloaders essentially (not entirely in a negative sort of way) who are masters at manufacturing. Their cost of getting the drug to the market hence is much lower, and they can sell it cheaper. But if the molecule wasn't discovered in the first place, Generics would not exist.
Secondly, India is a cheap manufacturing hub so naturally production costs are low, but we fail to notice that the top MNCs put in more in R&D than they do actually in Marketing and Sales as they are constantly trying to come up with solutions for the human (medical) condition. Generics don't put much effort in such causes. This fact cannot be entirely overlooked.
The golden mean to the problem - life saving drugs should be given generic licenses immediately so that they save the maximum lives possible, affordability should not be a question one has to face in a life and death situation.
Also there are so many Pharma companies that actually team up with Rural Hospitals and Healthcare programmes that make it possible for many villages to get excellent quality medications for very cheap prices, utilising the excellent distribution systems of these hospitals and programmes. I work for Novartis and we have such an initiative called Arogya Parivar that which does the exact same thing. Johnson & Johnson, Cipla, GSK all have these in some form or the other.
I am not trying to win brownie points for Pharma, neither am I saying that everything is fair in the Healthcare profession, but I thought that Satyamev Jayate should have allowed these aspects to be explained to the people. I am sure it would have helped in a better understanding of the scenario.
RIGHT PERCEPTIONS ARE FORMED ONLY WHEN INFORMATION GIVEN IS EQUIVCAL, and for me, today's episode just failed to provide that. PUBLIC OPINION IS DANGEROUS WHEN ILL-INFORMED.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The Teacher:I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day-
And as my fingers pressed it, still
It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past
The bit of clay was hard at last.
The form I gave it, still it bore,
And I could change that form no more!
I took a piece of living clay,
And gently fashioned it day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child's soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone:
It was a man I looked upon.
He still that early impress bore,
And I could change that form no more.
These few lines are very close to my heart. For me they capture the essence of a teacher. Only the other day in class, we were talking about the current educational system and how it could be changed for the better. All the members in my group made very m,any wonderful suggestions but except one person no one really spoke about the need for quality teachers.
The poem above says that: He still that early impress bore, which signifies how important a part the teacher plays in shaping a child. This cannot happen with teachers who feel that the Wagah Border is the design you see on the back of a tiger, or who don't know the name of the person who wrote our national anthem.
The word EDUCATION is derived from a Latin word which is e-ducere which means- to draw out/ to lead out. Now if you look at it from this perspective then it becomes so blatantly clear that if a child has to draw out the best of learning and knowledge, then the source from where he/she draws it out should have that kind of quality to provide within it. Then it became apparent to me that providing facilities, chucking the marking system, changing learning pattern, reducing the importance given to exams, giving more weightage to practical experiments would only go so far. All this would only be sustainable, and work for the better only if the educators themselves were amply trained in their respective disciplines and were motivated to teach of their own free will.
I agree we don't need experts, but we sure as hell need people who know what they are doing and feel that theirs is a noble profession.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
What i feel parents should understand is that becoming an engineer, doctor, ca or for that matter even graduating isn't everything. Classrooms are just not for everyone. Rather than making machines out of every single child why can't we let children grow up as individuals. Also taking into account the trials and tribulations of under privileged youngsters why can't we equip them with the skills necessary to survive, teach them something relevant so that they are able to stand on their own two feet and earn a livelihood. teach them how to weave or make handicrafts, repair small appliances or a skill like carpentry. They do not really need to know what is 2 to the power 5 or what happens when light passes through a prism.
The same problem comes to light when I see adults interacting with children who have a learning disorders or similar problems. What is 5 for normal people is usually as hard as 10 for these children but we still expect them to cope up. Why not encourage drawing or music which these children might be good at. Make them computer literate so that they can apply themselves easily doing data entries or other relatively easier things and gradually keep on adding more skills with increasing level of complexity and side by side honing their previous skills. They will get a sense of achievement which is so satisfying which you and I know so very well. I speak about this as this kind of an exercise has worked wonders with my own sister who is a slow learner. But the pride I see on her face when she types a letter, teaches my mother to write an email, is by far unparalleled. The joy she derives from working part time in small IT firm and the confidence she has gained by dealing with the world as an independent being is far more satisfying and joyous to watch. These little self experiences do not seem so trivial when you put them in perspective.
I am not at all saying that scrap education entirely. Basic level of literacy should be achieved, but it need not be done in 3 languages (English, Hindi and Marathi/Gujarati/Tamil etc), 10+2+3 or many more years. It should be done with keeping in mind that education should liberate people and not burden them with expectations of the world. We are born as individuals, but why not remain as individuals? Remember, people do not come off a production line, but rather they are custom made masterpieces which fulfill specific and equally important duties, however significant those activities may seem to you or me.