Hindustan Times: Mumbai: Wednesday, March 01, 2017.
Birender Sangwansays he will file applications asking for a cap on 14 more medical devices under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.(Getty Images)
Birender Sangwan, the Delhi advocate whose complaints and Public Interest Litigation (PIL) got the government to cap stent prices, says he will file applications asking for a cap on 14 more medical devices under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
What prompted you to file a complaint about overcharging stent prices, with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare?
Back in 2014, my friend’s brother had an angioplasty done and was charged Rs 1.26 lakh just for the stent. The total hospital bill was Rs3.30 lakh. I realised hospitals were charging exorbitantly for stents and filed the complaint the same year.
But the government’s move on capping prices came nearly three years after your complaint...
The journey wasn’t easy. We filed an RTI to understand the margins each entity was making. In February 2015, we filed a PIL against overcharging. The government included stents under the National List of Essential Medicines in July 2016. Finally, after the second PIL, NPPA capped the prices.
Are you looking at filing similar complaints with the ministry, to bring down charges of other devices, for example, orthopedic implants?
Yes. We are going to file complaints to bring down the cost of all 14 medical devices under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. We plan to file the complaints in the next two to three months.
What are your thoughts on the new fixed MRP on stents?
The new fixed MRP is very well thought out. It is going to make angioplasty affordable for a lot of people.