New Delhi: Controversy is now erupting over stent prices charged at various medical facilities across the country, with the NPPA alleging many of the top hospitals of overcharging on stents. This came after Regulator NPPA said it has received complaints against hospitals for overcharging on prices of stents.
In a recent tweet in posted by NPPA on its official twitter page, the NPPA was found disclosing in public, the names of the hospitals against whom investigations had been started after complaints of overcharging. These include some of the biggest brands of hospitals in the country, including PGIMER Chandigarh; Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai; Max Hospital in Saket, Delhi; Metro Hospital in Faridabad and Ballabhgarh (Haryana); and Ram Murti Hospital in Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh).
The investigations had been started after the NPPA received several complaints of overcharging through its official helpline ‘Pharma Jan Samadhan’.
Later through another tweet it further added its helpline also received complaint against Oxygen Hospital in Rohtak, Haryana and Bharat Heart Institute, Deharadun, Uttarakhand for overcharging.
Hospitals Deny overcharging
Max Healthcare and Lilavati Hospital denied overcharging patients for stents and insisted they were complying with NPPA guidelines on pricing of the medical device.
Max Healthcare Authorities, in a press statement told Medical Dialogues, “We have not overcharged even a single patient for stent. We have complied fully and immediately with the NPPA order on the stent pricing. We are positive that we will be able to demonstrate our compliance to NPPA order on the ceiling price of coronary stent.”
The company’s healthcare facility at Saket in South Delhi is among the hospitals which have been issued show cause notices by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) after preliminary investigations over stents pricing.
On similar lines, Lilavati Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Sitaram Gawde was found stating: “We are not overcharging. We are following the government guidelines on pricing. We are yet to receive any communication from the NPPA.”
Comments from the other hospitals could not be immediately obtained.
NPPA had yesterday warned hospitals, stent manufacturers and importers of legal action in case they are found spreading “misinformation” about shortage of stents in the wake of price cap.
8% Margin for Hospitals Enough
Through another tweet NPPA was found stating what it had earlier said in a memorandum that as trade margin of 8 per cent is included in the ceiling price of stents, no additional charge except local sales taxes and VAT can be demanded from patients.
The 8 per cent margin also adequately covers hospital handling charges, if any, the regulator had said.
In a major relief to patients, the NPPA last week slashed prices of coronary stents by up to 85 per cent, capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for the drug eluting variety.