It was contended that GMCH is allegedly the authority controlling the misdeeds of the chemist shop as it is their licensee within the complex and building GMCH. However, GMCH has failed to keep a check on such unfair practices.
Chandigarh: With allegations of unfair trade practices, a chemist shop and Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) have been fined of Rs 25000 each for overcharging patient with a stark difference in prices of a drug, which was 10 times higher than the MRP. In strict view of the matter, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has imposed fine and also forwarded a copy of the order to the Secretary, Health, Chandigarh Administration, for appropriate action.
The case relates to one patient who was suffering from fever. The patient went to the state GMCH situated in Sector 32 where he was diagnosed and found to be suffering from dengue.
On the doctor’s prescription, the patient purchased Paracip 650 mg from Apna Chemist that furnished him a computerized bill of Rs 180. Apparently, Apna Chemist is housed in the building of GMCH and is also a licensee of GMCH.
Surprisingly, the patient purchased the same medicine, Paracip 650 mg, from another medical store on payment of just Rs 18. The complainant was charged 10 times higher than the MRP of the drug. He then moved the Consumer Forum and filed a complaint against the chemist shop and GMCH.
In his complaint, the patient states that one strip of medicine Paracip 650 mg was charged/mentioned Rs.180 while for the same medicine, on being purchased from a different store one strip of 10 tablets were priced at Rs.18.
The complainant alleged that one strip was purchased while in the bill, to fulfil paper formality, Apna Chemist had cleverly mentioned Pack 10, quantity 10 and total cost Rs 180 and the doctor had never prescribed medicine Paracip for more than 33 days; rather the case was to be monitored after two days.
It was further contended that GMCH is allegedly the authority controlling the misdeeds of the chemist shop as it is their licensee within the complex and building GMCH. However, GMCH has failed to keep a check on such unfair practices.
GMCH, in its written response, said that they have constituted a committee to inspect shop of Apna Chemists. They have penalised Apna Chemists on an earlier complaint. The complainants in the present case, however, did not allege overcharge of the cost of medicines and misbehaviour. Therefore, no action was warranted. Professor B S Chavan, Director Principal of GMCH, also submitted that since no complaint was received, GMCH is not responsible for taking action.
After examining the records and submissions, the forum held that the chemist had cleverly mentioned pack 10, quantity 10 and a total cost of Rs 180, while, regarding the reply of GMCH, the forum held that they opted for a bypass route so that no complaint was made to the Director Principal. Therefore, action against the chemist was not taken. The forum held,
“We are wonderstruck to note worthy Director Principal of OP-2 (GMCH) had said that no complaint was received….it is a case of total inaction and adamant behaviour on the part of functionary of GMCH. Flagrant violation of the clauses of the licence deed is being impliedly permitted to be done as no action is being taken/initiated against Apna Chemist…,”
The forum stated that the Director Principal of GMCH is authorised to impose a penalty of Rs 5,000 for the first misbehaviour which could be increased three to five times in case of repeated irregularities in this regard.
Apna Chemists was directed to refund Rs 108 to the complainant. The chemist shop and GMCH were told to pay Rs 10,000 each as punitive damages into the Consumer Legal Aid Fund account, and to pay Rs 15,000 each to both complainants as compensation and litigation cost.