We often hear of hospitals charging exorbitant price from their patients. Recently, the Legal Metrology Organisation which comes under the Department of Civil Supplies, Food and Consumer Protection of State, conducted an investigation in eight hospitals of Mumbai. As reported by Free Press Journal, they registered cases against the hospitals and accused them of overcharging for medical products like the angiographic catheter, natural fabric fibre, OT Reload, breathing circuit and other vital packaged medical equipment. The most common way hospitals overcharged their patients was that the Maximum Retail Price was not declared.
Hospitals which were found to be overcharging their patients are:
- Lilavati Hospital, Bandra
- Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Andheri
- Hiranandani Hospital, Powai
- Fortis, Mulund
- Breach Candy, South Mumbai
- Asian Heart Institute, Bandra
- Global Hospital, Parel
- Sir HN Hospital, Girgaum.
How different hospitals duped their patients:
Lilavati Hospital: There was no declaration made on the products and even the manufacturing month or year was not mentioned.
Fortis Hospital: The investigating team found that the MRP on a product was smudged and many products were not having the name of the manufacturers and importers.
Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital: The inspection team found that MRP was not declared on a product and an additional sticker of a date of manufacturing had been affixed to it.
Breach Candy Hospital: The team inspected and found that stents were being sold at over Rs 1 lakh.
Hiranandani Hospital: The breathing circuit was not stamped or reverified.
The other violations found in different hospitals were that the weighing machines used for patients were not stamped or re-verified regularly.
Confiscation by LMO
LMO seized three pharmaceutical and seven surgical products from Breach Candy Hospital. It also confiscated three distributor bills for stents and balloons from the hospitals. The action will be soon initiated on the distributors. LMO also seized stents from Prabhadevi worth Rs 23 lakh as the packages did not mention the MRP.
Statement by Dr General V Ravishankar from Lilavati Hospital
As reported by The Free Press Journal, the Dr General from Lilavati Hospital, V Ravishankar issued a statement saying, “We sell below the MRP compared to other hospitals. It was also commended by the inspectors. What went wrong was that the angiography catheters which came in a box of around ten did not have the MRP. The individual catheters had no MRP mentioned. The issue should be taken up with the manufacturers, but this has been blown up.”
A draining system
According to the data from the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the prevailing trade margin on stents (used in angioplasty procedure for heart patients) ranges from 270 percent to over 1000 percent. The manufacturing cost of DES (Drug Eluting Stent) is Rs 8,000, and the price of an imported DES is around Rs 5,000. DES contains 95 percent of the stents used in India.
As reported by The Times of India, the importers or the manufacturers charge the lowest margins as compared to the margin of distributors. While most companies claim to follow the ethical codes of marketing, the doctors and the hospitals come under the scanner of illegal marketing practices. The huge profit margin put by the hospitals is very disturbing.
The Logical Indian Take
The Logical Indian appreciates Legal Metrology Organisation for investigating and bringing the malpractices to the notice of the public. The way these private hospitals are exploiting the patients is appalling and action must be taken against them. We request our community members that if they find private hospitals overcharging them, please bring it to our notice.
Also, the citizens whose family members or who themselves have been hospitalised for any condition in these or any other hospitals and have been overcharged for the devices or medicines are requested to approach the officer of the Controller of Legal Metrology Organisation. They can also write to them explaining the details and circumstances for overcharging.
The contact details of the organisation are:
Office of the Controller of Legal Metrology,
Government Barak No.7, Free Press Journal Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021.
Tel.: 022 2202 3354 / 022 2288 6666 / 022 2204 5706 / 022 2204 4952
Email:[email protected], [email protected]
or they can contact
Deputy Controller of Mumbai Metropolitan Region, New Administrative Building, 3rd Floor, Dr. S.S Rao road, Near M.G.M Hospital, Parel, Mumbai-12 022-24148494 [email protected]