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When the treatment may cause heartache! Courtesy MNCs not doctors!!

When the treatment may cause heartache! Courtesy MNCs not doctors!!

According to a report in TOI from Mumbai, it was revealed ‘Heart patients pay 700% more than the import cost for stents, as per  survey by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA, during a six-month-long survey, tracked a multi-national company that imports stents from the West and sells it to Indian distributors. The report said that company importing the stents itself made a profit of 120% before selling it to the distributors.’The report stated that for one of the stents, which had a landing cost of Rs 25,000, the MRP was fixed at Rs 1.55 lakh. As heart-related operations invariably come under emergency category, patients are often left with no option but to pay the price. “There has to be fixed profit margins for importing companies, distributors and hospitals. Patients cannot be left at the mercy of such pricing practice,” FDA said. While  profiteering happens more at the distributor level, blame comes on hospitals and doctors.


Dr N O Bansal, head of cardiology at JJ Hospital, said the government has to begin a dialogue. Also we need to see that the domestic industry excels so that we do not have to import devices,” he said.
The multinational companies that dominate the market import the devices and mark MRP at whatever level they like in the absence of any regulation. These devices even get customs duty concessions, the duty on cardiac stents being zero. ” The government knows this is happening because they can see the huge difference in cost between the import price and the price at which these devices are being sold to patients even in government hospitals,” lamented a senior doctor.
In March 2012, Medtronic USA had received a complaint about widespread bribing of doctors by its distributor Bhalani. According to the complaint, IMPL, the India arm of Medtronic, used distributors to distance itself from the bribery as it went against the corporate ethics Medtronic claims to adhere to. The complaint pointed out that the huge margin distributors were allowed to charge was used to bribe doctors, thus leaving Medtronics’ books clean and yet ensuring that the corrupt practices help push their products. Medtronic USA  excused itself by saying, ‘we do not condone nor do we tolerate improper payments of any kind, and we will continue our efforts to ensure compliance with all applicable Indian and US laws.’

However the MNCs that are importing stents to India have been found corrupt as per the US laws and fines heavily. Abbott Laboratories agreed to pay almost $5.5 million to resolve allegations that the company paid kickbacks to induce doctors to implant the company’s carotid, biliary and peripheral vascular products. De Puy, a subsidiary of Johnson, along with four other makers of artificial hips and knees, shelled out $310 million in penalties in September 2007 for using fake consulting agreements and other tactics to get surgeons to use their products.

With nobody to check these companies in India, the bribing continues unabated, impoverishing thousands of patients.


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