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The ethics of compulsory notification of tuberculosis

Shaheen Chowwdhury, Gajanan Phutke, Sushil Patil, Yogesh Jain



The Government of India has passed a notification making the non-reporting of tuberculosis (TB) by a clinical establishment a punishable offence. This article examines this move from an ethical standpoint. One of the main ethical concerns relates to the violation of patient confidentiality that may result from this. Also as regards improvement in patient care, there appears to be a poor cost-benefit ratio in terms of the actionable data obtained by this There may be possible adverse consequences by a limiting of access to care due to penalising of non-reporting. In terms of the bigger picture, the notification may lead to an increased tension between the private sector and Government. Moreover, it is the position of the authors that such a step distracts attention from the more important issues that plague TB care in India today.

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