The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recent investigations have revealed about the massive profiteering that the hospitals are involved in during the sale of catheters. The investigations have unearthed that in some cases the hospitals make a whopping profit of around 500% of the import price on the sale of the medical devices.
Catheters are flexible tubes inserted through a narrow opening into a body cavity, particularly the urinary bladder, for removing fluid. They are also used in angioplasty which is a procedure in which narrowing of a blood vessel is corrected.
Dr Harshdeep Kamble, the outgoing Maharashtra FDA commissioner, said that over the period of their two-month-long investigations across 12 hospitals in Maharashtra, as well as visits to distributors and manufacturers in Delhi and Chennai, have revealed that patients end up paying 70-84% more of the land cost of balloon catheters, reported The Times of India.
The probe exposed how an imported balloon catheter sold to the patients at Rs. 22,000 earns a profit of Rs. 12,505 (more than 50% of the cost) for the hospitals and the importers.
The investigation report was sent to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on Wednesday.
The catheters checked for FDA’s investigation were mostly imported. The importers marked up the price and sold it to the distributors, who then added their own margin and sold it to the hospitals, which, in turn, sold it to the patients.
A press release sent by the FDA’s intelligence branch, which started the inquiry almost two months back, said the number of angioplasties performed in India is increasing every year. “In 2015, 3.75 lakh angioplasty procedures were performed and 4.75 lakh stents were used in the country,” the release said, adding that one or two catheters are used per procedure. Apart from a stent, angioplasty also involves the use of other drug-notified devices such as balloon catheters, guiding catheters, guide- wires.
The FDA note said that the NPPA should bring a control in the prices of the balloon catheters and the guiding catheters by declaring a fixed profit margin for the manufacturer and importer, as well as distributors and hospitals.
The hospitals where FDA carried out the investigation include Fortis Hospital in Mulund, Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi, Jupiter Hospital in Thane and Kamal Nayan Bajaj Hospital in Aurangabad, among others.
In today’s world, healthcare has turned into a profit mongering business. It is disappointing to see hospitals make such exorbitant amounts of money of off people’s ill health. This is not only unethical but is also against the patients’ consumer rights.
The Logical Indian condemns such practices and hopes that the Maharashtra FDA’s investigation helps stop hospitals from frauding patients. We also request the government to interfere in the matter and take action against it.
Read the full report here: The Times of India