Cardiac Treatment Affordable: Health Advocacy Framing a Policy

Delhi-based healthcare advocacy groups will make a representation of the Union health ministry towards making cardiac treatment affordable through framing a policy on the same.

According to the Delhi High Court (HC) order, the representation will be made around the time when the deadline towards framing a policy.

The discussions and responses will be shared with National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and Delhi Government.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar of Delhi HC had before directed the Union health ministry to control the rate of operation charges, specialists’ consulting charges, nursing charges and to draft a policy within four months for controlling the rates of all these services.

The angioplasty package is between Rs. 2,39,684 and Rs. 2,16,229 which is a huge cost regardless of the way that the NPPA through a notice on February 14, 2017, had a fixed ceiling price of cardiovascular stents with bare metal stents cost being brought down to Rs. 7,260 from Rs. 45,000 and that of medication eluting stents at Rs. 29,600.

The petitioner advocate Birender Sangwan had also before filed PILs against 18 hospitals at Delhi HC at the violation of ceiling prices fixed for coronary stents.

Following the HC directive to control angioplasty charges, Delhi government is also implementing the Clinical Establishments (CE) Act in cardiac care centers.

Preceding this, the cardiac stents alone used to cost Rs. 1.2 lakh. The price control notification in this manner was a huge relief for cardiac patients the country over.

The step was taken to fix a standardized specification of the stent and its MRP to stop fleecing of patients. Subsequently, to all the chief secretaries NPPA has written to ensure compliance with stent price capping, its availability and uninterrupted cardiovascular care services.

NPPA reported that there are 300 such cases of cardiovascular stent overcharging in which either stent price isn’t said in the medical bill or billing is made for the sake of angioplasty charges or cath lab charges and furthermore not mentioning brand name and company of the stents.

Government capped the prices of cardiovascular stents based on the conclusion made by a committee of experts in 2015 which revealed that all cardiac stent is of a similar quality and therefore needs price rationalization.

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