Consumers say hospitals still reluctant to share MRPs of medical devices with them
- • Only 28% consumers found MRPs on medical devices
- • Want Legal Metrology Controllers to visit hospitals and medical device manufacturing units to enforce MRP compliance
July 22, 2019, New Delhi: The advancement of medical science has ensured that many diseases can now be detected early and treated. But this has also resulted in the medical treatment becoming costly. People spend their life savings to get their loved ones the best medical care in private hospitals, but some hospitals treat it as a business of just making money. Among various issues faced by consumers in private hospitals, the pricing of medical devices (MRP Medical Devices), stent price and medical device price cap are few of them.
After significant efforts by LocalCircles in 2017, the Government had mandated printing of MRP on medical devices mandatory from 1st January 2018, which was a result of the amendment made to the Legal Metrology Packaged Commodity Rules 2017. But clearly, the consumers are still facing a lot of problems when it comes to billing. LocalCircles conducted a survey to check with the consumers if hospitals were disclosing the MRPs of medical devices to them.
In the first question, consumers were asked if in the last 1 year, hospitals had made available to patients or their family members the packaging of the medical device used. In response, 38% said hospitals never make it available by themselves while 20% said they don’t make it available even on request. 42% said hospitals do make it available, but on request.
Consumers say hospitals still reluctant to share packaging of medical devices with them
There have been many cases where hospitals have charged patients a very high price for a medical device, as there was no MRP printed on the individual piece. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had said that the devices which should have MRP on them included heart valves, surgical dressings, condoms, stents, disposable syringes and orthopaedic implants etc.
All medical devices like stents, knee/hip replacements, catheters etc. are now supposed to have MRPs as per law. Consumers were asked what has their experience been with this. 50% said medical devices they came across, did not have MRPs while only 28% said the medical devices did have an MRP. 22% said they did not pay attention to it.
Only 28% consumers say they found MRP on medical devices
In various discussions on LocalCircles, consumers suggested ways in which enforcement of this rule could be done. One suggestion was for the legal metrology controllers to be sent to hospitals and medical device manufacturing units to ensure that MRP is being printed on devices and hospitals are sharing the MRP details with the patients or their family members.
The findings of the survey clearly show that the regulator (NPPA) needs to step up and ensure that the rules made by them are being followed by the hospitals. Consumers feel that it should be made mandatory for the hospitals to share the packaging of the medical device with the MRP tag, so that they could know what the MRP of the device is, and what the hospital is charging them. This will also ensure that the hospital bills don’t get inflated and consumers get a fair deal for the money spent.