Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Hospitals cannot force patients to buy medicines from their own pharmacy

Hospitals cannot force patients to buy medicines from their own pharmacy NCDRC: Fortis Health Management (North) Ltd. VS Meenu Jain & Anr passed on 22/07/2014 with case number RP No. 2448 of 2013. Per Dr. S.M. Kantikar, Member On 25.05.2009 Meenu Jain was admitted to Fortis Escort Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan (OP) for treatment of Guillain Barre Syndrome. The Complainant signed a general consent for admission. On 25.06.2009, the patient was on ventilator and administered lifesaving drug injection Iviglob-Ex, five doses daily, for five days. The cost of each injection-M.R.P. was Rs.18,990/-. Those injections were provided by hospital pharmacy and the Complainant was successfully treated and discharged on 13.06.2009. The total sum of Rs.6,82,965/- as hospitalisation charges were paid by the Complainant without any protest. The Complainant alleges that, he was told that the cost per injection was Rs.9,000/-.The Complainant-2 requested the hospital authorities that the injection Iviglob-Ex was available at Rs.30% - 40% discount in the other medical shops in the market and he may be permitted to purchase the injections from outside, but his request was not considered and he was forced to purchase the injections from the hospital itself. We find that, the complainant signed the consent and the counselling form, but it is also important to understand the state of mind of the complainant-2 as his wife Meenu Jain was in a critical condition in OP hospital. The OP was in a dominating position over the Complainants. Thus, the hospital authorities indirectly imposed unjustified and unreasonable conditions on the Complainant to purchase the injections from the hospital, for the treatment of the patient. The counsel for OP argued that, to ensure quality and genuineness of the drugs, the OP did not permit the patients to buy the drugs from outside which is not at all convincing and reasonable. The OP sold the injections at the maximum retail price (MRP), and not charged any excess amount. “The corporate hospitals should not be a commercial/business centres for profiteering from the exploitation of such critical patients, who have to pay sky rocketing hospital bills”. “Regarding contention of OP about spurious drugs, the OP was at liberty to explain the pros and cons of drugs brought from outside market, and after due consent from the complainants, they could have administered the injections.” “Therefore, considering the facts and circumstances, we are of the opinion that the hospital authorities exercised undue influence and compelled the Complainants to pay excess price. This amounts to unfair trade practice. The right of the Complainant/patient cannot be curtailed by preventing the Complainants to exercise their option to purchase the medicines or injections from the market. Also the complainants approach was opportunistic. Thus, in context of maintaining good Doctor-Patient relationship, we feel that the OP should have allowed discount on the purchase of 25 doses of expensive injections Iviglob-Ex by the Complainant.” “The complainant calculated the excess amount of Rs.1,56,167/-. Also, we cannot totally ignore the services which OP had rendered to the patient in critical condition. The OP has every right to earn profits from its pharmacy, but it should be reasonable or acceptable one. Therefore, we feel it is just and proper to allow refund of 50% of the calculated excess amount…”

No comments:

Post a Comment