The Food and Drug Administration has rubbished claims that patients are being charged extra for stents in city hospitals.
The FDA that had received complaints from patients against the private Lilavati Hospital and the civic-run KEM Hospital, conducted its own inquiry and found out that there was not the basis for these complaints, says FDA joint commissioner (drugs) Vineeta Thomas.
According to the government order dated 14 February 2016, stent prices everywhere have been regulated, offering relief to cardiac patients. The move was aimed at curtailing the high prices for stents being charged by hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. However, consumers complained that they were being forced to fork out Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh per angioplasty. To counter these claims, a special helpline was launched by the FDA in partnership with the central government. The helpline, say sources, received complaints of overcharging at the Lilavati and KEM hospitals. However, the FDA inquiry did not substantiate these claims.
According to Thomas, while the prices of stents have been regulated, the prices of other surgical equipment is still unregulated, which could be responsible for the high prices of surgeries at these hospitals.
Complainants not reachable
The FDA says it tried to contact the complainants in order to ascertain the veracity of the complaints. While the identity of such complainants is usually kept secret, the FDA tried to contact them in order to get additional information. However, Thomas says that all the complainants have been 'unreachable' on their mobile phones.