Two years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority introduced price caps and made it mandatory for hospitals to display the Maximum, Retail Price (MRP) of medical devices, a survey has found that most devices that hospitals use still do not have MRPs displayed on the packaging.
The survey conducted by Local Circles, an online Social Media Community group surveyed 8619 unique users from its community and found that 50 percent of the respondents said that medical devices they came across, did not have MRPs while 28% said the medical devices did have an MRP and the rest said they did not pay attention to the pricing. “Patients and their families still continue to face problems with billing and at times are even charged much higher for the devices”, said Sachin Taparia, Founder of Local Circles to ET. “The price cut of medical devices need effective enforcement, hospitals need to put transparent pricing mechanism of procedure costs”, Taparia added.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had said that the devices which should have MRP on them included heart valves, surgical dressings, condoms, stents, disposable syringes and orthopaedic implants etc. All medical devices like stents, knee/hip replacements, catheters etc. are now supposed to have MRPs as per law. In 2017, the NPPA cut down the prices of stents and orthopaedic implants by over 60% creating a furore among medical device makers. The issue became blown into a diplomatic crisis between India and the United States, as the lobby group of American medical device makers forced the US government to push India out of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) a trade benefit that India got from the US.
The survey by Local Circles also asked its respondents if hospitals had made available to patients or their family members the packaging of the medical device used. In response, 42 percent said hospitals do make it available on request, 38% said hospitals never make it available by themselves while 20% said they don’t make it available even on request.
The Legal Metrology Controllers is the regulator that enforces the MRP regulations, Local Circles has made an appeal to NPPA that it should take up this issue with all the authorities to get these rule enforced.
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