ILLUSTRATION: AMIT BANDRE
HYDERABAD: Though the prices of drug-eluting stents have been capped by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the benefit has not been passed on to patients. Private hospitals have increased the cost of procedure and other charges to make up for the loss of revenue as they are not allowed to charge heart patients more than the MRP for the stent used in angioplasty. At a meeting held by NPPA, patients and their families raised their concern over the matter.
According to the minutes of this meeting, a group of hospitals claimed that capping the stent prices forced them to increase the procedure costs and other related charges. On the issue of excessive margins on drugs and devices, they reiterated that they were not selling them above MRP.
In February, the NPPA capped the price of a ‘bare metal stent’ at Rs 7,660 after increasing it from Rs 7,440, and capped that of ‘drug-eluting stent’ at Rs 27,890 after reducing it from Rs 30,180. Some hospitals have been found to charge more than Rs 2 lakh for an operation in which the procedure alone may cost around Rs1.25 lakh.
Joint director of Telangana Drug Control Administration (TDCA) T Kailasam said people could lodge complaints only in case of violation of the stent sale price and not other costs.
“We cannot regulate the procedure and its related costs charged by hospitals. As far as stent prices are concerned, we have not received any complaints since 2017,” he claimed. Sources in the TDCA say that in the absence of any control on other costs levied by hospitals, a government body needs to be established if the benefit of stent price capping is to be passed on to patients.
To bring more transparency in billing and for effective monitoring of MRP, the NPPA also decided that all health care institutions performing angioplasty shall also mention the billing cost of cardiac catheters, balloon catheters, and guide wire along with name of the company, brand name, batch number and specifications. Gleneagles Global Hospitals chief cardiac transplant surgeon Dr M Sai Sudhakar said that the total cost of an operation depends on the hospital’s investment on a cath lab, which might be around `7 crore, and on infrastructure and other things.
Siddipet medical college gets ago-ahead
Hyderabad: The Government Medical College at Siddipet got the official go-ahead from the Medical Council of India on Wednesday when it recommended the Central government to issue the Letter of Permission (LoP) for the establishment of the college for the 2018-19 academic year. As reported earlier, the medical college that has been waiting for permission since 2016, has been allotted 150 seats.
In addition to the Siddipet medical college, a private college, Ayaan Medical College at Rangareddy, has also be approved by the MCI, with an allocation of 150 seats. Currently, the number of MBBS seats with TS is 3,450. In its recommendation letter, MCI has asked for LoP for 13 new government colleges and four private ones across the country.