THEME 4: - PRIVATE HEALTH SECTOR - CoPGS2019 SESSIONS -
The global emergence of a dominant “for profit” private sector in healthcare and the increasing commercialisation of health systems across most LMICs (Low- and middle-income countries) have critical implications for the future of healthcare. In many LMIC countries, underfunded public health systems are overwhelmed, with inadequate staff, facilities and supplies. Large sections of people, including the poor, often have no other recourse but to turn to private healthcare providers for their health needs. Increasing commercialisation of the health sector has led to unaffordable health care and widespread malpractices such as unnecessary procedures and tests, over prescriptions, irrational medicines.
The hegemony of the private health sector and the medical industrial complex is compounded by a lax regulatory framework and lack of accountability and oversight, which paves the way for private healthcare providers to get away with malpractices and violations of patients’ rights.
The impact of commercialisation in the private healthcare sector is disastrous. For example, in India alone, where the private health sector accounts for more than 82 % of outpatient visits, 63 million people or 7 % of the country’s population fall below the poverty line every year due to catastrophic health costs. In Kenya, the private sector is mostly unregulated and has almost monopolised certain domains of health services, with the burgeoning health insurance industry. Sri Lanka is witnessing an upsurge of market-based tertiary private care. Out of pocket expenditure on drugs is a major cause of impoverishment in many countries. Arbitrary pricing of health services also means that the poor delay seeking medical care or are denied treatment outrightly. Read more...