FDA clears KEM Hospital of stent overpricing allegations

A day after National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) received complaint against Mumbai’s KEM Hospital for overcharging stents, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Maharashtra, visited the hospital for investigation and has found that the allegation was untrue

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Ever since NPPA has put a cap on stent price, KEM Hospital claimed that it has used three types of 20 stents and none of them have been charged more than Rs29,600

A day after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) received a complaint on its helpline against Mumbai’s KEM Hospital for overcharging stents, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Maharashtra, visited the hospital for investigation and has found that it is a false allegation.

“After NPPA received the complaint, FDA officials visited our hospital. They checked everything and we submitted our report too. In the end, the authority found nothing that could prove the complaint true. There is unnecessary hype created by everyone, there is no truth in it,” said Dr Avinash Supe, Dean of KEM Hospital.

Dr Prafulla Kerkar, Head of Cardiology Department at KEM Hospital, denying any act of overpriced stents at the hospital said, “We have always been in favour of our patient’s well-being and whatever complaint NPPA had received about stent overpricing here is untrue,” said Kerkar.

He added that ever since NPPA has put a cap on stent price, they have used three types of 20 stents and none of the stents have been charged more than Rs29,600.

NPPA’s tweet about the complaint

“The medical companies itself are unsure about what price they are supposed to sell the life-saving stent,” said Kerkar.

On February 14, NPPA announced cut in prices of coronary stents by up to 85% by capping them at Rs7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs29,600 for drug eluting variety.

The step was taken to fix a standardised specification of stent and its MRP to stop fleecing and cheating of patients. NPPA had written to all its chief secretaries to ensure compliance of stents price capping, its availability and uninterrupted cardiac care services.

Following this, NPPA received a number of complaints about stents being sold at higher prices by different hospitals across India via their helpline number. On February 26, the official Twitter handle of NPPA tweeted that a complaint was received against Anand Hospital (Meerut), Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai’s KEM Hospital.

Prior to this, complaints were received against Bharat Heart Institute (Dehradun), Uttarakhand, Oxygen Hospital (Rohtak), Haryana, Max Hospital Saket, New Delhi, Nidaan Multispecialty Hospital (Sonepat), Haryana and Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai.

New Delhi’s Max Hospital and Nidaan Multispecialty Hospital from Haryana denied the charge.

Sources said other hospitals have given seven days to respond, following which it will examine the case in detail. As and when the regulator receives complaint, with the help of hospitals’ bills and other documents, it examines the complaint. After preliminary investigations, NPPA sends show-cause notices to concerned hospitals.

If the responses are not satisfactory and allegations are confirmed, then the government will take a move to recover the amount hospitals have overcharged on stent, said officials.