NEW DELHI: Cornered over allegations of overcharging, Fortis healthcare, a major private hospital chain in the country, today clarified that it does not charge “any drug or consumables over the printed maximum retail price”.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, on Friday, had said that Fortis hospital at Gurugram had charged up to 1,700 per cent profit margin on consumables and medicines used for the treatment of a dengue patient who subsequently died of the illness in September.
The case of the dengue patient—Adya-had led to major outrage after her father posted details of the Rs 16 lakh bill charged by the hospital during her 15-day stay in the hospital.
NPPA, in a report released on Friday said that the hospital charged a margin of up to 1,737 per cent on procurement price on a three-way stop cock. The procurement price of the consumable per unit stood at Rs 5.77 while the hospital charged Rs 106 per unit for the product, it added.
The consumables listed by the NPPA included items such as syringes, gloves and towels among others on which the hospital earned huge profits.
Last month, the pharmaceutical regulator had asked the Fortis hospital to submit details of the procurement price of all the items sold to the patient along with their billing rates
Today, Fortis Healthcare, however, rejected the charges of over pricing, saying “our end price to the patient is very much in line with what other private hospitals in India charge”.
A statement released by the hospital said: “Looking at individual prices of any single item as a standalone takes the margin/profit topic out of context. To understand the total profit scenario and overall business performance, one should look at the financial margins for the Fortis hospital business.”
Health activists, on the other hand, said that the regulator and the government in now releasing the information in public domain under immense public pressure even though the exorbitant profits earned by hospitals has been known to them.
“The hospital is saying that it charges only MRP but for patients’ benefit, it is the factory price which should be mentioned on all items because that is where the game lies,” said Gurinder Grewal, senior member of the Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Healthcare.
“We have written to many senior functionaries in the government including the Prime Minister to ask hospitals to mention factory price and introduce a code of ethics but no action has been taken so far,” he added.