JAN AROGYA Abhiyan (JAA) has demanded that, like stents, other medical devices should also be brought under price control, as there is huge profiteering in sale of these devices. A statement, issued by Dr Anant Phadke of Jan Arogya Abhiyan, sourced the revelation to retired Commissioner of Maharashra FDA Harshdeep Kamble.
In his letter to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on June 4, Kamble had revealed that though the price of cardiac stents has been capped, investigations have shown huge profiteering in sale of balloon catheters and guiding catheters, which are required during angioplasty.
As per the letter, it was found that while the patients were charged between Rs 20,000 and 25,000 for balloon catheters, 47 per cent of the amount was being pocketed by traders and hospitals. Similarly, out of Rs 5,000 to 10,000 paid by patients for the guide wires used during angioplasty, over 70 per cent of the amount is pocketed by traders and hospitals.
The Maharashtra FDA has also found that huge profiteering is taking place in sale of all the medical devices. It was found that Alcon, a type of artificial lens used in cataract surgery, is imported at Rs 4,400, but the purchase price for hospitals and patients is Rs 6,000 and Rs 9,575, respectively. In case of Arisof, another lens used in cataract surgery, the purchase price is Rs 2,717, Rs 6,500 and Rs 18,500, respectively.
After investigating into the sale of 18 such devices, Maharashtra FDA had found that patients have to pay 200 to 300 per cent extra. For example: a needle used to be inserted into an artery costs Rs 800 to the hospitals, whereas the MRP is Rs 2,200. In case of oxygen masks, the figures are Rs 290 and Rs 1,100.
“Some legal and technical requirements need to be fulfilled to bring medical devices under price control. There is no law for capping prices of medical devices,” said members of the Jan Aarogya Abhiyan, adding that all medical devices should be taken under price-control list. A JAA member, Dr Abhijit More, was also present at the event.