Delhi: A policy on capping hospitals’ profit margins on the cards

hospitals

In an attempt to rein in errant private hospitals, the Delhi Government is likely to come out with a policy this week. The policy which is based on the recommendations of an expert panel formed by the Arvind Kejriwal Government last year, aims to cap profit margins of city hospitals on drugs and devices.

“We submitted the recommendations about two months ago and the new policy on capping of profit margin by hospitals should be out by this week,” a top official was quoted as saying.

The move comes amidst a child’s death at a private hospital in Gurgaon which sparked a huge public outrage last year. There were allegations that the hospital charged the family around Rs 16 lakh for treatment.

The nine-member panel, headed by Director-General of Health Services Kirti Bhushan had suggested capping the profit margin for drugs and devices at a maximum of 50 per cent above the manufacturing price or procurement cost, whichever was lower, the official said.

The panel which was formed on December 13 last year, comprises the then Indian Medical Association president Dr K K Aggarwal, Delhi Medical Council president Dr Arun Gupta, former president of Delhi Medical Association Dr R K Gupta, and experts, and senior bureaucrats from the Government.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had in December said that the private hospital had charged as high as 1,700 per cent margin on consumables and medicines used for the treatment of the dengue patient, a seven-year-old girl, who subsequently died of the illness.

Health Minister Satyendar Jain in his December press conference had said that a panel to oversee things was needed as the health department received several complaints related to overcharging, refusal or delay in providing immediate medical care to victims of crime or road accidents, or hospitals compelling patients to purchase drugs from in-house pharmacy.