The clinical establishment regulatory commission on Monday penalised three private hospitals in the city for not providing patients the least-priced drugs and not offering discounts, in violation of an order of the panel.
Retired judge Ashim Banerjee, the chairperson of the commission, said the hospitals had given the patients medicines of higher-priced brands.
The RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences was asked to return Rs 50,000 to a patient’s family.
“We have found that a version of human albumin manufactured by a reputable company was available for Rs 4,000. Yet the hospital gave a higher-priced version. Many hospitals are doing the same,” Banerjee said.
The amount that has to be refunded includes the sum the hospital did not offer as a discount to the patient in violation of the commission’s order.
CMRI was asked to pay Rs 80,000 as penalty. “We have imposed the penalty on the hospital because earlier, too, we found that the hospital did not offer discounts according to our advisories. Since they have repeated the same thing despite being cautioned, we have imposed the penalty,” said Banerjee.
The hospital was also asked to return Rs 12,942 — the amount that had been overcharged — to the patient’s family. CMRI, too, had given an expensive version of a drug to the patient, Banerjee said.
Apollo Multispeciality Hospitals was asked to return Rs 16,000 to a patient’s family after the commission found that it had given an expensive brand of human albumin.
The hospital was also asked to offer a discount on the bill as the commission found that its advisory on discount was not followed.
The commission had issued many advisories in 2020 and 2021 on offering discounts on medicines and consumables and also fixed rates of some pathological tests.
Banerjee said many hospitals were not following the advisories.
One of the advisories asked hospitals to offer discounts over the maximum retail price (MRP) of medicines and offer patients a cheap version of a medicine if the doctor does not prescribe a specific brand.
Banerjee on Monday said private hospitals were asked to keep three to four brands of a drug, and not just an expensive version, to lessen the financial burden on patients’ families.