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Top private hospitals fleecing patients: NPPA

New Delhi | Updated on February 20, 2018

Study of bills shows prescription of high-margin non-scheduled formulations

Top private hospitals in Delhi and the NCR region are prescribing drugs that are not under price control to claim higher margins and also overcharging patients for diagnostic tests and essentials such as syringes and surgical gloves and masks, a study carried out by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has revealed.

“It is amply clear that for claiming higher margins, doctors/hospitals preferred prescribing and dispensing non-scheduled branded medicines instead of scheduled medicines….,” the NPPA memorandum put up on its Web site on Tuesday stated.

The total cost on scheduled medicines used in the treatment is only 4.10 per cent compared to 25.67 per cent on non-scheduled formulations, as per the analysis.

NPPA carried out an investigation of medical bills of four top hospitals in the Capital following some recent deaths due to dengue and other ailments last year, the memorandum said. One such high profile case was the death of Adya Singh at Fortis Hospital, Gurugram, where the family complained of being charged an exorbitant bill.

The report also points out that the profit margins in the non-scheduled devices used in the three cases (syringes, cannula and catheters) are exorbitant and clearly a case of ``unethical profiteering in a failed market system’’.

For example, in a particular instance, patients were charged ₹200 for a an injection that a hospital purchased for ₹15.29.

It further added that most of the drugs, devise and disposables were used and sold by the hospitals from their own in-house pharmacies and the patients are given no choice to procure it outside where prices are lower in most cases.

The analysis concludes that the major beneficiaries of profits in all the cases because of inflated MRPs have been hospitals rather than drugs and devices manufacturers.

“The violation of ceiling price and corresponding MRPs is detected only in very few cases which shall be pursed further by NPPA for recovering the overcharging amounts from defaulters,” the memorandum said.

Published on February 20, 2018

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