The law regulates all costs that are levied on patients for services, tests and treatments rendered by medical establishments. 1 This prevents overcharging and ensures that medicines are accessible for the public.
Transparency of Rates and Charges
All clinical establishments have to clearly display the rates that they charge for each service. 2 This creates transparency and helps patients take an informed decision about their treatment. Physicians have to prioritise the interest of patients over their own financial gains. 3 They should announce their fees before beginning a treatment so that the patient can make a well-informed choice. Further, patients have the right to receive a detailed, itemised receipt of the costs incurred in their treatment. For instance, details of treatment costs have to be provided by clinical establishments in the form of a brochure/booklet of rates of services.
Rates of Medicines
To protect patients from getting overcharged, clinical establishments should charge authorized rates for each type of procedure and service. An authorized range of rates is issued by the Central Government (with the help of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) from time to time, in consultation with the State Governments.4
To secure quality healthcare for all, the Government releases Drug Price Control Orders from time to time. 5 These orders control the prices of essential drugs at rates that are easily affordable for the average person. The hospital administration has the responsibility to sell medicines, devices and implants at maximum retail price (MRP) rates and not at higher rates.
Further, India also has a National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) which forms the basis of drug price regulation in the country. You can access them here.
Rates of Medicines
State governments also notify their own lists of essential medicines, depending on their requirements. Additionally, the Central government notifies the fixed rates for medicines under its various health schemes:
- Life-saving drugs under the Central Government Health Scheme (list)
- Generic drugs under the Central Government Health Scheme (list)
- Branded drugs under the Central Government Health Scheme (list)
- Medicines available under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana
Further, you can buy medicines online at reasonable prices from theJan Aushadhi Sugam (Generic medicines available at affordable rates)1
- Charter of Patients Rights, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- Section 9 (i), Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012
- Section 1.8, Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002
- Section 9 (ii), Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012
- Section 3, Essential Commodities Act, 1955