Drug authority action against hospitals

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority or NPPA has pulled up 40 hospitals for not displaying new prices of knee implants on their websites. On August 16, the authority had capped prices of the medical devices, bringing them down by about 65%.

The authority had directed all manufacturers, importers, distributors and stockists as well as hospitals, nursing homes and clinics to display the new prices on their website home pages by August 28, as well as to specify brand names and the names of the manufacturing or marketing company of these devices.

The NPPA has now threatened action against 40 hospitals across the country, which have not made price change information available online. The NPPA tweeted on Thursday last week that it would issue notices to the hospitals that may face legal action against the Essential Commodities Act.

The NPPA had fixed the ceiling price of the most commonly used knee replacement implant made of cobalt chromium at Rs 54,720, excluding the Good and Service Tax. Before the order, a patient had to pay at least Rs 1.5 lakh for a cobalt chromium knee implant of the same quality.

Tamil Nadu homeopathy racket

Chennai police announced on Saturday that it has busted a certificate counterfeiting racket conducted by four members of the Tamil Nadu Homeopathy Medical Council, the Times of India reported. Police arrested six fake homeopathy practitioners in the districts of Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Theni, Madurai, Coimbatore and Tirupur last week. Another accused in Villipuram district died of an ailment a few months ago. Four others facing similar charges obtained anticipatory bail from the Madras high court, according to the an investigating officer.

The arrests were made based on complaints by the Tamil Nadu Homeopathy Medical Council registrar and the council’s former president. The police said that the accused had received fake medical certificates from the council’s former registrar, C Soundararajan, in collusion with its former president, GP Hahnemann, and former council members R Rangasamy and T Parameshwaran Nambiar. The fake certificates had been issued between 2010 and 2012 in the names of deceased homeopathy doctors.

The anti-forgery wing of the Central Crime Branch of the Chennai police charged the fake doctors with forgery, forgery for the purpose of cheating, using a forged document as genuine and cheating along with criminal conspiracy.

Gorakhpur hospital doctors charged

Police booked nine people linked to the The Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur in connection with 60 child deaths over five days in mid-August, including medical college’s former principal Dr Rajeev Mishra and his wife Dr Purnima Shukla. They have been accused of indulging in corrupt practices and swindling of government funds, leading to the ill-functioning of medical facilities at the hospital, according to a report in the Indian Express.

Dr Kafeel Khan – who was the head of the encephalitis ward at the time of the deaths and who was later suspended – and Manish Bhandari, proprietor of the company supplying liquid oxygen to the hospital have been named in the FIR lodged at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow. The sudden spike in deaths occurred among reports that the oxygen supply company stopped supply due to non-payment of dues by the hospital.

Others named in the FIR are Uday Pratap of the audit department, clerks Sanjay and Sudhir, chief pharmacist Gajanan Jaiswal and Dr Satish, head of anesthesia and the oxygen supply department.

On August 12, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath set up a committee to investigate the deaths. The committee submitted its report the chief minister on August 20. Besides recommending action under Prevention of Corruption Act against the accused hospital employees, the committee also suggested disciplinary action against them.