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Interview with Samar, GP in Bangalore

Samar, born in Kerala, raised in Abu Dhabi, is 29 years old and has a diploma in family medicine. He has been a GP for 3 years and works in different small clinics around low-income urban communities. He considers himself an introvert who likes to spend most of his time reading and is married since 7 months.

Every day is different for him, sometimes he works in clinics, sometimes he goes with a Medic Van to more rural villages to provide healthcare. He sees about 25 people a day, charging them only 10 Rs. Most patients are women, who can’t read or write, the men are often working and tend to neglect their health.

Patient Records Cabinet
Samar showing his doctor group on WhatsApp

Top Highlights:

Patients are on a lot of unnecessary drugs, including antibiotics.
“2-3 out of 5 have already taken antibiotics when they come to see me, and a mixture of them. Quacks will often give a 'masala of antibiotics' to patients in hope that one of them will cure them."

Bribing and corruption is incredibly common
“Doctors are incentivised to prescribe antibiotics. Pharmaceutical companies incentivise doctors with trips or tip offs and doctors will check pharmacies if drugs have actually been moved. In this hospital it happens 5% of the time, which is quite low.”

Who is creating the problem of poor prescription practices?

1. AYUSH doctors and pharmacies will act like allopathic doctors

“Pharmacies should not be consulting patients, they should be telling them to come to the doctor. They are giving OTC drugs, they can not prescribe”

2. Patients aren’t educated enough to make the right decision

“Patients are seeking care elsewhere. They don’t want to waste time and money on a consultation.”

3. There are not enough primary care providers

“‘Why go to a neurologist for a headache for 400-600 Rs?’ Indian healthcare has typically been very specialised, there is no real primary care available in urban areas, so it’s either the neurologist or the pharmacy.”

Concept Feedback - Symptom Tree
“This would be really useful to have with patients for dizziness, symptoms are vague and you’re looking for key words when people describe or explain it. If you had a decision tree it would help you go through multiple scenarios faster.”