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Supreme Court asks Centre to ban hospitals from compelling people to buy meds in-house

May 15, 2018

Supreme Court has sought response from Centre as to why the practice of private hospitals of compelling patients to buy medicines from their in-house pharmacies has not been banned. Most of these private hospitals sell medicines at “inflated prices” through their in-house pharmacies.
In the present matter, a PIL was filed by Vijay Pal Dalmia alleging that he had to pay more than INR 20,000 more for the prescribed injection purchased from the hospital when Dalmia’s wife was being treated for breast cancer. They also alleged that they were not permitted to buy medicinces from outside where it was comparatively cheaper. They called this practice by private hospitals as “fleecing and looting” of patients. Such practices by private hospitals to mint money are against humanity, morality and the rights of Indian citizens, right to live a dignified and healthy life. The government is under an obligation to provide best and affordable healthcare to citizens. 
In the present matter, the hospital charged a total of INR 61,132 for one Biceltis injection. Though the same was available in the open market at a discounted rate of Rs 50,000. Further, when these injections were purchased four together, then one injection was given free of cost. Effective cost per injection being INR 41,000. The petitioners contended that government should categorically ban hospitals from compelling patients to mandatorily buy medicines from hospitals. It is unjust that patients have to unnecessarily buy medicines at artificially inflated prices when the same are available at a much lesser price in the open market. 
Government cannot ignore the interest of the patients and action needs to taken to stop these financial malpractices by private hospitals. These hospitals come directly under the control and power of government and hence an action needs to be taken at the earliest. The supreme court bench comprising of Justice S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao has agreed to hear the said petition. 


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