The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed Sri Guru Ram Dass Charitable Hospital, Amritsar, to take a decision on demand for providing discount to patients/consumers on the purchase of medicines from medical stores on the hospital premises.
The direction was issued by a high court bench of justice SS Saron and justice Gurmit Ram on a public interest litigation (PIL) by one Amrit Lal, a member of the Amritsar Anti-Corruption and Welfare Society, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), seeking directions to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) hospital.
It was argued that all prominent hospitals, including Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, have ensured discount on the purchase of medicines ranging between 15% and 40% on the maximum retail price (MRP).
However, the SGPC-run hospital, which was charitable, had recently issued notices for auction of four chemist shops located on its premises, but there was no condition in the auction notices for asking the interested parties to provide for discount on the sale of medicines. It was alleged that it was an approved hospital for cashless treatment of cancer patients and poor cancer patients get cashless treatment up to Rs 1.5 lakh under the Punjab government scheme, and any amount above the said limit had to be incurred by the patient himself.
“Thus, a poor cancer patient, who gets cashless treatment up to Rs 1.5 Lakh, in fact, gets the benefit of medicines worth Rs 75,000 only, in the absence of any discount being offered by the medicine stores,” the court was told.
Chemist shops in the other hospitals were offering discount even up to 50% on the MRP.