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Fresh PILs filed against 18 hospitals at Delhi HC for overcharging cardiac stents

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Friday, April 14, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Advocate Birender Sangwan has filed PILs against 18 hospitals at Delhi High Court (HC) for overcharging cardiac stents at the point of care. The names of hospitals against whom PILs have been filed figure prominently in the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA’s) list for violating the ceiling price order dated February 14, 2017.

The list includes leading government and private hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. The case will come up for hearing next week.

Many of these cases of overcharging have however also been referred by the drug pricing regulator to respective state drug controllers for 100% audit. Ever since NPPA has fixed the ceiling prices of stents on February 14, 2017, the drug price regulator has so far received 40 written complaints against major hospitals in the country.

Advocate Sangwan’s PIL earlier this year had led to slashing of prices of cardiac stents in February. The landmark verdict was a huge relief for many cardiac patients across the country as the ceiling price of bare metal stents was brought down to Rs.7,260 from Rs.45,000; and that of drug eluting stents were fixed at Rs.29,600 from about a whopping Rs.1.2 lakh. Clearly there was much profiteering happening on the sale of stents.

Says Advocate Sangwan, “PILs have been filed against 18 hospitals which have figured in the NPPA’s list for violating the ceiling price order dated February 14, 2017.” On February 14, NPPA announced cut in prices of coronary stents by up to 85% by capping them at Rs.7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs.29,600 for drug eluting variety.

The step was taken to fix a standardised specification of stent and its MRP to stop fleecing of patients. NPPA had written to all the chief secretaries to ensure compliance of stents price capping, its availability and uninterrupted cardiac care services. The government brought in important reforms such as the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) in 2011 and also issued the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) in 2013.

Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had stepped up its vigilance as a part of its larger plan to detect overpricing of stents in government and private hospitals subsequent to NPPA receiving complaints about stents being sold at higher prices at KEM Hospital, Lilavati Hospital and a few hospitals in Pune and Nashik.

Two complaints of overcharging had been received against the KEM hospital. The first complaint was received on February 26, followed by another complaint on March 1, 2017. The other hospitals include Lilavati Hospital, Bandra, the complaint of which was received on February 23, 2017 and Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Mira Road, Thane, the complaint of which was received on March 4, 2017.

Two other hospitals in Maharashtra include Pune Hospital and Research Centre, Pune, the complaint of which was received on March 4, 2017 and Six Sigma Medicare and Research Ltd, Nashik, the complaint of which was received on February 25, 2017.

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.

 

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