Unethical pricing and exploitation of patients by Private Hospitals still not stopped

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Patients and help groups now actively seeking call for regulation of private hospital to prevent unethical pricing. A new evidence of Unethical pricing and exploitation of patients came in front of The study of the National Pharmaceutical Price Authority (NPPA) of named private hospitals in the country. NPPA has analyzed patient bills of unethical practices of private hospitals. These activities are the result of the regulatory vacuum, which allows them to monetize the vulnerability of patients.

Late Sourya Pratap’s father Gopendra Singh Parmar said that his son was treated at Medanta – the Medicity, Gurgaon for dengue and his total bill was 16 lakhs. More than 40% of bill was for  consumables and medicines on which the hospital seems to have taken huge margins. 9.5% bill charged for lab charges. He said now it is the right time to frame some regulations and rules to make private hospital services affordable. Out of range medicine bills forced patient’s families to sell their assets, beg and borrow in their desperation to treat loved ones.

Dr. Mira Shiva, Co-convenor of the All India Drug Action Network (Aidan) said there are several deficiencies in the existing regulation to control the prices of essential medicines through the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO) 2013.

The latest NPPA report clearly demonstrates some points that private hospitals are making good .

Profits by choosing to prescribe more expensive medicines.Around 25% of the combined bill costs is hardly surprising given that almost 90 percent of the pharmaceutical market remains outside price control. There is a huge trade margin as the NPPA acknowledged that the market-based formula for fixing ceiling prices. Aidan working for the expansion of the scope of the DPCO to cover life-saving medicines and to reinstate a method of cost-based pricing that provides reasonable profits to companies.

According to NPPA report, hospitals get a large share of the total costs of their in-house diagnostic services. The absence of regulation of the rates of diagnostics in-house centers becomes a major out of pocket expenditure in both inpatient and outpatient care. Private hospitals charged extra from patients as their convenience fees.

Diagnostics and testing centers mainly worked on a model of cut practice, commissions, and irrational, unnecessary prescription. Patients family members get trapped in their business with less obvious ways. Some hospitals set protocols that medicines and consumables should be bought from the hospital pharmacy, refuse to display their rates or refuse to provide detailed bills.

In short, Now the government needs to take action to build strong regulations to stop economic ruin for the sake of protecting profits.

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