Inflated MRPs on drugs, consumables and diagnostics have allowed hospitals to make a killing at the cost of patients, sometimes resulting in profits over 1,700 per cent. According to an analysis of bills from four reputed hospitals in Delhi and NCR by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has revealed that these hospitals are making a profit of upto 1,737% on drugs, consumables and diagnostics. And it does not end there! The study also suggests that these three aspects account for up to 46% of a patient’s bill. The findings of the analysis, released on Tuesday, notes that the beneficiaries of the profits because of the “increased MRPs” have been hospitals and not the drug or device manufacturers.
The abnormal profits have been recorded in incidents where the purchases were made by patients from in-house pharmacies at hospitals and patients did not have the liberty to buy from other shops where prices could have been lesser. According to the NPPA, institutional bulk purchase by private hospitals mostly by their own pharmacies makes it easier for them to indulge into profiteering on devices and drugs. This becomes even easier for hospitals since the prices are already inflated without even violating the MRPs.
NPPA states in its analysis that hospitals are effectively pushing the pharma industry to inflate their prices further to get bulk supply from them. “This is a clear case of market distortion, ” NPPA said. After accounting for their profits, manufacturers print inflated MRPs to meet the needs of the distorted trade channel. As a result, patients become the real sufferers who have to incur the massive expenditure in the hospitalization cases.
NPPA’s analysis comes after families of some patients who lost their lives due to dengue and other ailments complained of overcharging by the hospitals. All the families complained that the initial estimates of their expenditure were inflated by three to four times. Since these practices were widely prevalent, the request of these families were honoured, NPPA said.