Shop rent determines medicine rates at top city govt hospitals

  • Vishav Bharti, Hindustan Times, CHANDIGARH
  • Updated: May 11, 2015 15:27 IST

Higher the rent of the shop, the more expensive the medicines will be. This is the trend at the chemist shops at the top government-run hospitals in the city.

During a reality check at three government hospitals, HT found a huge difference in the price of a common item, Nebuliser Mask CT-Piece (oxygen mask), at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh; Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 (GMCH-32); and Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16 (GMSH-16).

Even at shops located inside the PGIMER, the same item is being sold at different rates. In some cases, the price variation is fourfold.

Trilok Chemist located in the Emergency Block of the PGIMER sells the oxygen mask for `455 (even more than the MRP), after giving the mandatory discount of 30%. This chemist pays the maximum rent at PGIMER — Rs 60 lakh a month.

At GMCH-32, there are two chemist shops, which are selling the oxygen mask for Rs 315 with the MRP of `450. The rent of both the shops at GMCH-32 is around Rs 18 lakh a month.

When inquired from GMSH-16, where there is only one chemist shop, the chemist said the oxygen mask was out of stock. “But we sell it for about Rs 100 a piece,” he said. The rent of the shop is around Rs 2 lakh per month.

The common pattern coming out is that higher the rent, the more expensive the drugs will be.

The same pattern was even found within the PGIMER — the chemist who pays the highest rent is the most expensive. The same oxygen mask which was sold for Rs 455 by Trilok Chemist in the Emergency, was available for anywhere between Rs 100 and Rs 150 at different shops in Gol Market of the institute, where rent of the shops is much lower.

A PIL is already pending in the Punjab and Haryana high court with regard to the variation in medicine prices within the PGIMER. “The poor patients are being looted at the PGI.

Either the shopkeepers will overcharge or sell poor quality medicines to pay the high rent,” the petition stated.

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