‘Catheters reused by private hospitals for huge profits’

Mumbai: In a recent investigation conducted by the Food and Drug Association it was revealed that most of the private hospitals in Maharashtra were found reusing 1,306 catheters of over more than 1,000 patients at 50% the retail price.

A senior official said there are eight private hospitals found re-using the catheters and there are no such legal provisions with the health ministry or FDA for such an offence. Catheters are medical devices used to clear obstructions or dilate a narrowed canal, duct or blood vessel as support devices in angioplasty procedures. “There are no legal provisions for re-using the medical devices like catheters or charging patients for them,” said a senior health official.

A senior official said Cosmos Enterprises have storage centres in Kandivali which functions illegally. “The reports are forwarded to the licensing department of the BMC after they found that a distributor of guiding and balloon catheters has storage in Kandivali,” said the official. The report found out that Fortis Hospital Mulund, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi and BSES Mg Hospital Andheri were selling the balloon and guiding catheters to the patients at higher rates.

“There are some products which cost Rs 6,000 to the hospital. The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the product cost for the patient is Rs 26,000 and when the products are re-used, the hospital is charging Rs 20,000 to second patient,” said an FDA official. RPY Rao, from Society for Awareness of Civil Rights, who alerted the FDA officials about the re-using of catheters, said he has asked MCI and Department of Consumer Affairs to introduce an act or amend existing laws to stop patient exploitation.

“We demand all 4,500 medical devices used in surgical procedures to be notified as drugs, add to National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and allow NPPA to cap the prices under Drug price Control Order (DPCO – 2013) under drugs and cosmetic act 1940,” said Rao.

Fortis Hospital Mulund, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, Sahyadri Hospital Pune and Kamal Nayan Bajaj Hospital Aurangabad were found to be selling the products at high rate, reuse the product and charge the patients on reuse. BSES Hospital Andheri, Wockhardt Hospital Nagpur and Platinum Hospital Mulund didn’t charge patients on reuse.

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