Focus on pharmaco-economics: an Indian exercise
M.R. Rajagopal, MD
A six-day “Training the Trainers” program for palliative care physicians was held in Mumbai in January 05 (reported in IAHPC newsletter). At this program, a competition was announced to the participants. The competition was an academic exercise in proper preparation of teaching materials, the optimal use of visual aids and the provision of adequate back-up material.
Choice of subject:
The choice of the subject, “Pharmaco-economics,” was deliberate. Too often, the teaching of symptom control in palliative care focuses on available therapeutic options with scant consideration of cost. In the Indian context of a lack of a social security system (which I believe could be true for many developing countries), the cost of treatment can actually worsen the quality of life for patients and families. Families go into debt; children drop out of school and by the time the patient dies, the family may even be homeless. Doctors seldom think about this, and often the choice of a drug, or treatment modality, is dictated by the salesmanship of the pharmaceutical industry. We felt that the more this matter is discussed, the better it will be for our patients.
The entrants submitted a PowerPoint presentation designed for a 40 minutes’ teaching session along with a hand-out in the form of a word document. The entries were evaluated by a team of judges – Dr Ram Narayan from the department of Medical Education from Manipal , India , Dr Reena George, editor of Indian Journal of Palliative Care from Christian Medical College , Vellore , India and Dr Robert Twycross from Oxford who was the course chairman.
We congratulate the winners:
- Dr M.M. Sunilkumar, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi ([email protected])
- Dr Anand Krisha Gudur, Belgaum Cancer Hospital , Belgaum , Karnataka ([email protected])
- Dr Mallika Tiruvadanan, Laxmi Palliative Care Trust, Chennai ([email protected])
The first winner will receive a prize sponsored by Dr Robert Twycross.