Delhi govt to implement CE Act based on Delhi HC directive to control cost of angioplasty procedures

Shardul Nautiyal, MumbaiThursday, January 4, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Delhi government is planning to implement the Clinical Establishments (CE) Act based on Delhi High Court (HC) directive to the Union health ministry towards framing a policy to control the exorbitant cost of angioplasty procedures related to cardiac treatment.

The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, has been enacted by the Centre to provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in the country with a view to prescribe minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them.

The treatment cost in most of the cases is arbitrarily fixed towards fleecing patients according to an observation based on the survey done by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

NPPA had some time back reported that there are cases of cardiac stent overcharging in which either stent price is not mentioned in the medical bill or billing is made in the name of angioplasty charges or cath lab charges and also not mentioning brand name and company of the stents.

Delhi based activists and lawyers have also teamed up to file cases against hospitals for violation of drug price control order (DPCO) and are planning to take up the matter with NPPA.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar of Delhi HC directed the Union health ministry to control the rate of operation charges, doctors' visiting charges, nursing charges and to draft a policy for controlling the rates of all these services.

The patients are charged between Rs. 2,39,684 and Rs. 2,16,229 as angioplasty package which is a huge cost despite the fact that the NPPA through a notification on February 14, 2017 had fixed ceiling prices of cardiac stents with bare metal stents cost being brought down to Rs. 7,260 from Rs. 45,000 and that of drug eluting stents at Rs. 29,600.

A public interest litigation (PIL) against 38 hospitals was also filed in the past in Delhi HC for overcharging cardiac patients by hospitals in the name of angioplasty procedures.

Government capped the prices of cardiac stents based on the conclusion drawn from a committee of experts in 2015 which revealed that all cardiac stents are of the same quality and therefore needs price rationalization. The move followed incorporating cardiac stents in the National List of Essential Medicines which eventually led to capping prices as per Schedule 1 of DPCO.