Fortis Hospital in Gurugram marked up the prices of medicines and other consumables used to treat a seven-year-old dengue patient in September by up to 1,700%, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority said on Friday.
The price regulator released a list of 176 products, comparing the price charged by Fortis with their procurement price. They were placed under three categories – medicines under price control, medicines not under price control and consumables – and the margins ranged from 5% to 1,737%.
For the medicines that are under price control or the scheduled drugs, Fortis had marked up the prices between 5% and 350%, the NPPA found. For non-scheduled drugs or those not under price control, the rates were marked up anywhere between 10%-900%.
The girl, who was suffering from dengue, spent nearly 15 days on ventilator support before she died, during which the hospital allegedly charged her parents more than Rs 15 lakh.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s Deputy Director Anand Prakash said, “NPPA shall be taking necessary follow up action as per existing law and within its jurisdiction”. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority released the findings of the data it had obtained from Fortis after it had received an RTI application.
After the data was submitted, the price regulator found that the hospital had charged the family Rs 106 for a “three-way stop cock bivalve”, which it had procured for Rs 5.77. The hospital made a margin of 1,737% on this. Similarly, a disposable syringe that the hospital bought for Rs 15.29, was charged Rs 200, a margin of 1,208%.
Fortis had put out a statement after the girl’s family alleged overpricing. It had said, “All the consumables were transparently reflected in the records and charged as per actuals.”
Fortis has not yet responded to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s report.
On December 10, a case was registered against the hospital, days after a government panel found that gross negligence by the facility had caused the girl’s death. Fortis was charged with culpable homicide. The Haryana government had also asked authorities to cancel the hospital’s land lease.
During an investigation into alleged overcharging in the girl’s treatment, a three-member government panel found irregularities, unethical practices and violation of the protocol for diagnosis and medical duties.