Written by the doctors and public health advocates Arun Gadre and Abhay Shukla, Dissenting Diagnosis is based on a study conducted at Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives, a Pune-based non-governmental organisation. During the course of this study, Gadre and Shukla interviewed 78 doctors from across the nation in an effort to confront what they consider is an ongoing crisis of the medical profession: doctors, they write in their introduction to the book, are finding “their traditions of ‘keep patients foremost’ rapidly buried under the ruthless logic of ‘keep profits foremost.’” Gadre and Shukla discussed with these medical professionals issues such as lack of regularisation in the private sector, unlawful and unethical practices routinely followed by doctors, the influence of pharmaceutical companies, the state of medical education, and the possibility of a universal healthcare system.
In the following excerpt from the book, interviewees speak to the writers about the hold of the pharmaceutical companies over the medicines prescribed by doctors. They describe how, through offers of gifts and benefits, aggressive marketing and sheer persistence, representatives from pharmaceutical companies routinely entice doctors into prescribing expensive and often unnecessary medicines to their patients. The pharmaceutical companies, one of the doctors said, are "like a pack of wolves."
“Some of my doctor friends boast to me that they have travelled the world, sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. One was telling me with pride that even their shirts, pants, vests and underwear are given by pharmaceutical companies!” says an ophthalmologist from a medium-sized city.