Mumbai: Recent reports given by the Maharashtra FDA point out that 8 private hospitals in Maharashtra have indulged in an unethical practice by reusing 1,306 catheters in more than 1,000 patients. These hospitals are reported to have charged them as much as 77% of the retail price. While the Maha FDA has shown strong objection to the practice, there are no legal provisions to stop the offence.
The report also states that private hospitals in Mulund, Vashi and Andheri were also selling catheters to patients for almost 200% to 300% its cost, using the same products for fresh patients and charged them three-fourth of the retail price, earning very high margins.
RPY Rao, from Society for Awareness of Civil Rights, told HT “Hospitals need to face legal action for looting patients. We demand that all the 4,500 medical devices used in surgical procedures be notified as drugs, added to National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and allow NPPA to cap the prices under Drug price Control Order (DPCO – 2013) in Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940.” In fact Rao is the person who brought this irregularity into the notice of FDA officials and asked the MCI and Department of Consumer Affairs to introduce an act or amend existing laws to stop such exploitation of patients.
The report has been forwarded to the licensing department of BMC after it was found that a distributor of guiding and balloon catheters has a storage centre in Kandivli which functions without a license.
Hindustan Times reports that the MRP of a balloon catheter is between Rs 20,000 and Rs 28,000 and a guiding catheter costs anywhere between Rs 5,000 to Rs10,500.
Reusing the device is not illegal if they are sterilised but charging patients more than three-fourth of the cost of a new device is unethical while the cost of sterilising a device for reuse is around 10-20 paise, said Health officials
“A number of medical devices are cleaned up and sterilised using ethylene oxide two to five times before being reused. However, since the liquid is inexpensive, the cost of sterilisation is negligible,” said a doctor.
FDA officials told Hindustan Times “There are some products that cost Rs 6,000 to the hospital. The MRP of the product, which is what the first patient pays, is Rs 26,000 and when the product is reused the hospital charges Rs20,000 to second patient on.”
The hospitals defended their action one of the hospitals named in the report said in a statement “We are charging the prescribed label price. We unwaveringly continue to abide by the statutory guidelines laid down by the governing and regulatory bodies. Our commitment to provide world class patient care is complemented by best equipments for our patients without compromising on the quality of care.”