“Hospitals who are overcharging from patients for medical device and medicines, in the state, will not be spared, stern action will be taken against these hospitals,” said Girish Bapat, Maharashtra’s Food-Civil Supplies, and Consumer Protection Minister.
Answering a question raised by Congress MLA Sanjay Dutt in the Legislative Council on overpricing of medical stents, Bapat said, “State government is very clear. We will not allow hospitals to overcharge the patients. If any hospital is resorting to this illegal practice, and indulging into overpricing, we will register offence under Essential Commodities Act, which is a non-bailable offence.”
Minister’s statement on the floor of the House is a clear indication that Maharashtra government will talk tough against private hospitals which are overcharging patients.
Bapat further said, “We are in the process of preparing a database of patients who had undergone heart surgeries in private hospitals.”
He added, “We, appeal to the patients to come forward and give us information about their medical expenses, so that we can find out how many patients have been overcharged by the hospitals.”
Earlier this year, the National Pharma Pricing Authority (NPPA) had fixed the ceiling prices of cardiac stent by 50%. It has been acting on complaints of overcharging of cardiac stents by hospitals on regular basis. Recently, NPPA had issued notices to 15 cardiac stent companies having manufacturing / import licences, but not provided information for price fixation to them.
NPPA will also be holding meeting with medical device manufacturers / importers to discuss and finalise reporting formats for monitoring prices and for Integrated Pharmaceutical Database Management System (IPDMS).
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra is now probing private hospitals for overcharging patients for devices such as balloon, catheters and other surgical instruments used during heart surgeries. The administration has so far inspected five hospitals in Mumbai and several across the state are set to undergo inspections.