Target: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Goal: Stop charging hospital patients unreasonable prices for medical devices
It is common knowledge that the costs of medical devices are relatively high for patients seeking heart transplants and other medical treatments. However, patients in India are estimated to be paying well over three times the amount that the actual instruments cost. This causes financial hardships for patients in critical need of medical treatments.
Hospitals have been criticized for their focus on profit-making in India. Their model for billing patients is the same model as buying cheap products in bulk and selling at a considerably marked-up price to the patients. For instance, if given nearly equal options for medical equipment, the hospital would choose the equipment option that would profit the hospital the most.
According to one surgeon, who anonymously reported to the Time of India, the hospital for which he works forced him to purchase the more expensive of two equal surgical stapling guns. The surgeon was planning to purchase the cheaper stapling gun to save his patient some money, but a hospital administrator called and demanded otherwise in order to make a profit from the purchase of the more costly stapling gun.
According to some reports by anonymous doctors to the Times of India magazine, the costs that patients incur in paying for devices, medicines, and diagnostics could amount to as much as 70% of a hospital’s profit. Due to the fact that most medical equipment is not readily available on the market, patients are held hostage to prices that hospitals charge them. Patients are generally not able to access pricing information for medical equipment.
Experts have come up with a few options that they feel would make medical treatment costs easier for the patient to afford. Making it mandatory to state the maximum retail price (MRP) on each medical device could help limit the high prices on equipment by having companies compete to offer lower prices. Experts on this matter have also suggested allowing patients to purchase their own equipment from the supplier, which would generally cost the patients significantly less due to the lack of mark-up cost on the equipment.
Please sign this petition to urge the Prime Minister of India to stop the hospital system bureaucracy from obsessing over profit-making and to instead focus more on affordable treatment methods for the livelihoods of patients.
Dear Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
Hospital bills are increasingly becoming more unaffordable for the average citizen. Given that the most costly treatments are usually treatments for life-threatening conditions, the expensiveness of medical treatment comes as a burden to not only the financial statuses of individuals, but also as a burden to their livelihoods.
Please alter your country’s hospital system’s priority of profit-making for hospitals, and have the focus of these hospitals driven instead to providing the best and most cost-effective treatments for patients. Consider the various alternatives that are available to aid patients in receiving vital medical treatments. Doing so would not only make the lives of many patients easier, but would no doubt save numerous percious lives as well.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: John Isaac via Flickr