The Maharashtra government informed the Legislative Council on Thursday that it had taken action against eight leading hospitals in Mumbai, which were found overcharging medical devices like stents.
State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Girish Bapat said since January 2017, the government has been using provisions of the Legal Metrology Act to crack down on such hospitals.
Bapat was speaking during a debate after a Calling Attention Notice was moved by Congress legislator Sanjay Dutt and others. "Eighteen medical devices are included in the list, which have to be sold at the MRP (maximum retail price) only. Action was taken against eight hospitals - Fortis, Breach Candy, Lilavati, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani, Asian Heart Institute, Global, L H Hiranandani and Sir H N Hospital," Bapat said.
"These hospitals were found to have been charging stents in the range of Rs 1.05 lakh to Rs 1.90 lakh although they had procured the same from importers at Rs 50,000 to Rs 90,000," the minister said.
According to him, the government has filed cases under the Consumer Protection Act, which has provision up to seven years jail term. Admitting that the FDA faces staff crunch in enforcing the law, Bapat added that the government is taking help from retired officers and NGOs to ensure its implementation.
On the action against the eight hospitals, Bapat said the government is also checking the bills of patients, who had taken treatment at these medical establishments six months ago.
He said the government has put up notice boards at all the hospitals and provided Legal Metrology Department's phone number, e-mail ID and WhatsApp number, so that people can register their complaints.
Raising a supplementary query, Dutt urged the government to take note of the attempts by hospitals to inflate bills by including fees charged by doctors andservices provided by the hospitals.
Bapat admitted that sample medicines meant for doctors were found to have been sold to patients. "The government shall convene a meeting to discuss the issues," Bapat said.