Maharashtra: Government to take strict action if private hospitals overcharge medicines, medical equipment

State Minister for Food and Drug Administration informed the Legislative Council on Thursday that if need be the government can register a non-bailable offense against such hospitals.

If private hospitals charge more than the MRP on medicines and medical equipment, the Maharashtra government will take strict action and if need be it can register a non-bailable offense against such hospitals.

State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Grish Bapat on Thursday informed the state Legislative Council about how the government had taken action against such hospitals, who charged more than the MRP on medicines and medical equipments. "Those hospitals who had violated the norms, we have fined them. We have given them a last warning but if they don't adhere to it and repeat the offence, then government will take strict action and file a non-bailable offense against such hospitals," Bapat said. Bapat was speaking during a debate after a Calling Attention Notice moved by Congress legislator Sanjay Dutt and others.

"Eighteen medical devices are included in the list, which have to be sold at the MRP (maximum retail price) only. Action was taken against eight hospitals - Fortis, Breach Candy, Lilavati, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani, Asian Heart Institute, Global, L H Hiranandani and Sir H N Hospital," Bapat added.

According to the government, these hospitals were found to have been charging stents in the range of Rs 1.05 lakh to Rs 1.90 lakh, although they had procured the same from importers at Rs 50,000 to Rs 90,000. On the action taken against the eight hospitals, Bapat said the government is also checking the bills of patients, who had taken treatment at these medical establishments six months ago.

"It's a welcome move by the government. Since last 3-4 years, the FDA was receiving such complaints from lot of people. Even when the FDA warned few but still the corporate hospitals were continuing this bad practice. Due to this poor or middle class patient was staying away from good medical facility. If the government really implement this, medical service bill will come down drastically and all can get good medical service in private hospitals," said Santosh Andhale, senior editor, My Medical Mantra.

National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority of India (NPPAIndia) which is active on this issue had a meeting with manufacturers importers on Thursday where they did discussed and finalised reporting formats for monitoring prices and for the IPDMS.

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