Syringes for Rs 15.29 was charged at Rs 200! This is how Gurugram Fortis charged Adya’s parents over 1,208% more for medical devices

The Fortis Memorial hospital in Gurugram charged 1,208-1,737 percent more than procurement price for much of the medical equipment, including disposable syringes and three-way stopcocks, to the parents of seven-year-old dengue patient Adya who had died at the hospital despite undergoing treatment for two weeks, according to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

The national pricing body, through its letter dated November 25, had sought all the copies of the invoice/bills raised, the name of the medicines administered to the patient along with details of quantity or price charged to the patient.  According to the bills uploaded to the NPPA website, after they were submitted to it, the procurement cost of the disposable syringes were Rs 15.29 but the family was charged Rs 200 per syringe. The procurement prices for three-way stopcocks, used for infusion and invasive blood pressure monitoring, was Rs 5.77, however, the hospital charged the parents Rs 106 per unit, making them earn a margin of 1,737 percent.

Other types of equipment such as pressure monitoring line of 200 cm were procured by the hospital at Rs 17 while the parents were charged Rs 225 per pressure monitoring line, making the hospital earn a margin of 1,201 percent. The hospital had procured suction catheter thumb control for Rs 7.65 but the family was charged Rs 64 per piece.

According to the reports, the hospital charged the patient’s family for every medical type of equipment by over 25 to 1,208 percent. ‘NPPA will be taking up the necessary action as per the existing law,’ said an order by the NPPA issued on Friday. Adya, a Class 2 student, developed a high fever on August 27. Her Dwarka-based family said they rushed her to Rockland Hospital in Dwarka two days later.

Tests confirmed she was suffering from dengue. However, since her condition worsened and Rockland suggested that she be transferred to another hospital, she was taken to Fortis where she remained on life support for two weeks. Fortis raised a bill for 1,600 gloves, 660 syringes, high-end antibiotics, and sugar strips, according to a family member.

‘On September 14, an MRI revealed extensive damage to the brain. We decided to take her to another hospital, but Fortis doctors refused to even facilitate an ambulance,’ the girl’s father had said in a statement when the case came into limelight. Adya died September 14-15 midnight while being shifted to Rockland Hospital without life-support equipment in the ambulance. The case came to light after bereaved father Jayant Singh’s friend posted it on Twitter on November 17, recounting how the family was billed ‘Rs 16 lakh, including for 1,600 gloves” but the girl could not be saved.

According to the reports of NPPA, the highest margins were earned in consumables such as like syringes, catheters, IV sets, blood transfusion sets, gloves and masks. The hospital constituted, along with drugs 30-40 percent of most hospital bills. The pricing body also in its reports unveiled that the hospital earned 900 percent margins on some non-scheduled drugs and up to 300 percent on many scheduled (under price control) drugs.

‘The blood transfusion sets which were procured at Rs 12.85 were charged for Rs 126 with 881 percent margin and gloves for examination were procured for Rs 1.34 but sold at Rs 9.50 with a margin of 609 percent,’ said the NPPA, adding three-way extension line was procured for Rs 18.48 while it was sold at Rs 225 with a margin of 1,118 percent. Following the incident, two FIRs, including that of culpable homicide, have been registered against Gurugram’s Fortis hospital management and doctors. The hospital will also face civil action on three counts in the case, a Haryana government official told IANS, adding that Health Minister Anil Vij had already ordered for both criminal and civil action against the Fortis Memorial Research Institute.

Image source: Shutterstock


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