Chilean Medical Association behaves like a cartel

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Senator Alejandro Navarro summoned association´s president, Enrique Paris, to stop hiding the real facts – as the huge shorfall of nearly 4000 medical specialists – . He also announced legal actions in order to investigate if there is a monopoly that prevents free practice to foreign physicians.

Broad Social Movement´s (MAS in Spanish) Leader, Senator Alejandro Navarro, has summoned Enrique Paris, President of the Chilean Medical Association, to answer a set of questions that, according to many, prove that the association behaves like a cartel. This is after Paris, who conceded an interview about the crisis of the public health system, omitted the large scale shortage of specialists in Chile.

According to Navarro, this has a simple explanation: “”during the last years, the Association has behaved as a health care cartel. We all agree that our country needs a broad ranging deal, but before that, some need to be honest in order to start a change””.

The Senator requested that Paris levels with the Chilean people and answer questions like, “”How much do the physicians who have the biggest turnover earn? How is possible that many doctors, who are public servants at hospitals that belong to the State, sell their work to the same hospitals as private labour, having a turnover of millions?””

““I can not believe that he does not know this issues. That hundreds of doctors gain new clients during the mornings as medics of the public system and that during the evening carry out surgeries and other tasks on a private bill, but many times at the same operating theatres or at private clinics but all with public funds?””, he added.

“Maybe that is why the Association opposes that a different exam than the Eunacom -– the only examination that allows foreign physicians to practice in the public health system in Chile -– could be taken””, Navarro explained.

The Senator asked: “”How is possible that in Chile the health care waiting list is nearly two million people and we have not been able to provide a proper answer to the ill? What is the Medical Association role on this lobby that puts up with any change on this scheme and covers up a private modus operandi which is beneath the public health system?”

He continued: ““at the same time, we would like Enrique Paris to answer if a broad ranging deal is possible when access to medicine is not universal due to the collusion of the market? Or what is the link between the labs, the companies that sell the drugs and the doctors?””

According to Navarro, ““these logical questions prove that in Chile we have a cartel; they do not want to lose their economic benefits or self-protecting agreements. If this leadership of the Association does not want to see the widespread discontent and resists the necessary changes, public unrest will spread among Chilean society and the citizens will definitely start protesting against them””.

Denunciation at the Financial Investigation Unit

Consequently, the Senator announced that together with his legal team, is studying a complaint to the Financial Investigation Unit (FNE in Spanish), ““in order to investigate any monopolistic practices that prevent full competition and foreign professionals to work in Chile””.

He argued that ““this situation contradicts the economic liberalism our country is under, given that international assets are always welcome, however, well-qualified human resources are restricted””.

““It is absolutely necessary for the whole society to be clear, that a broad ranging deal is essential in order to change what is happening in the public health system, and finally have definite procedures based on the people´s rights and stopping the commercialization of healthcare””, he ended.

Press and Communications Office

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