Doctors seek price cap on hip, knee implants

Doctors seek price cap on hip, knee implants

A section of doctors on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a price cap on hip and knee implants, intra-ocular lenses used in cataract surgery and a number of anti-cancer medicines to check profiteering by the manufacturers and hospitals.

The doctors submitted documented evidence to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on how these devices are being sold to the patients at a higher price, though the hospitals purchase them at a discounted rate from manufacturing firms.

One company, for instance, was selling its three varieties of intra-ocular lenses at the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of Rs 1,000, Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,500, respectively, whereas these lenses were sold to the hospitals at a discounted price of Rs 100, Rs 250 and Rs 350, respectively.

Dirty trend

Similar is the case with many hip and knee replacement kits and equipment and oncology products. For instance, one company sold a total knee replacement kit to a hospital at Rs 74,000 but the patient paid Rs 120,308 to get the same from the hospital.

“There is a dirty trend prevailing in the healthcare system where the drug manufacturing companies, are supplying drugs and medicines to the hospitals at far less a price than the MRP. There is a practice of special ‘hospital rate’ and the ‘MRP’. ”

“An unsuspecting patient has no reason or way out, not to pay the MRP mentioned on the drugs or implants, which is highly inflated and exorbitant,” G S Grewal, former president of the Punjab Medical Council told DH.

The disclosure comes days after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) imposed a price ceiling on cardiovascular stents used in angioplasty to check rampant profiteering by stent manufacturing companies and hospitals.

Along with the petition, the doctors submitted a number of quotations from pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies offering a special price to the hospitals as against the MRP.

Hip replacement materials that are sold to the hospitals at Rs 38,000 and Rs 48,000 are being offered to the patients at an MRP of Rs 61,500 and Rs 106,800, respectively.

Similarly, anti-cancer medicines like Rituximab and Trastuzumab are being sold to the patients at the MRP, which is twice the hospital rate.

Inflated rates

“The MRP mentioned on the drugs is sometimes even 2,000% more than the actual price,” said Grewal. The accompanying rate lists were submitted to various hospitals in Punjab by the companies.

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