Mohali’s Mayo Hospital booked for black-marketing remdesivir
Following subdivisional magistrate’s report finding Mayo Hospital (now Mount Star Hospital) in Mohali’s Sector 69 guilty of black-marketing 83 remdesivir injections and fleecing at least 100 Covid-19 patients, police have registered a case against its management, including the chief executive officer and eight directors.
The case has been registered under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code besides under the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Acts at the Phase-8 police station.
Hindustan Times had first reported irregularities at the hospital on May 22.
It is the second hospital in the district that has been booked for malpractices in the past couple of weeks. Earlier, on May 18, a case was registered against the management of New Lifeline Hospital of Zirakpur for overcharging and medical negligence.
The four-member committee, comprising subdivisional magistrate Jadgeep Sehgal, deputy superintendent of Police Deep Kamal, senior medical officer Dr Vijay Bhagat, and drug inspector Jai Jai Singh, found that the Mayo Hospital had sold 83 remdesivir injections, which are used for treating Covid-19 patients, for ₹40,000 each in the black market after procuring them from the state government for ₹1,800 each.
The committee found that bills for the injection were issued in the name of a prominent cement manufacturing firm besides the chief financial officer and a few doctors of the hospital. One bill was also issued in the name of a woman on March 17 even as she was admitted on March 18.
Later, during the investigation, the district administration detected around 100 instances of overcharging of Covid-19 patients at the hospital.
Mohali deputy commissioner Girish Dayalan said it had come to the fore that the hospital had been charging around ₹20,000 a day from Covid patients.
According to rates approved by the Punjab government, a private hospital can charge ₹16,500 a day from a patient requiring ventilator support while for a bed without ventilator, the charges are capped at ₹14,500 a day. These include all expenses, such as room rent, visiting charges and PPE kits.
“Mayo Hospital was found to be offering a package of ₹40,000 for the entire span of hospitalisation, but was adding ₹6,000 a day as visiting charges, which is illegal,” said Dayalan.
The deputy commissioner said directions have also been issued to other private hospitals not to indulge in unethical practices. “Otherwise, strict action will be taken, which may even lead to the closure of the hospital,” he said.