The State and Future of Medical Regulation in Pakistan: Self-Regulatory Corruption in the Aftermath of Colonization

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Humayun AHMED, University of Toronto, Canada
Saleem AHMED, Sindh Medical College, Pakistan, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan, Pakistan, Aga Khan University, Pakistan, Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Centre, Pakistan
Sohaib AHMED, University of Toronto, Canada
Sophia GLISCH, University of Toronto, Canada
Self-regulation is at the forefront of the medical profession more so than any other healthcare field. While self-regulation is critical to physician autonomy and quality of care, oversight bodies responsible for generating and enforcing quality standards are necessary. While the adherence of medical regulation to its own quality standards is questionable even in the developed world, Pakistan especially houses regulatory structures that do not appear to be in compliance with the standards they set. Specifically, the colonial implementation of an essentially British system that shares salient characteristics with British regulatory structures, but does not successfully account for Pakistan’s unique political and commercial landscape, has left gaps in power that demand filling, resulting in corrupt patient resource allocation and physician registration and qualification largely influenced by affiliations with the public sector. Despite a superficial commitment to ensuring registration and continuing education, Pakistan’s regulatory bodies do not appear to demonstrate the quality standards that they publicly declare. In order to propose policy and enforcement recommendations to improve the current system, this paper will first look at the state of the current system. We will describe the standards publicly set by medical regulatory bodies such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan, and evaluate the extent to which the regulatory bodies appear to comply with their own standards. We will then recommend revisions to the formulation and enforcement of these standards to better regulation in the future.