New Delhi: The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch today requested the government to cap costs of diagnostic services and consultations charges in private hospitals.

Citing an analysis of four hospital bills by drug-price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the SJM said it provided clear evidence of exploitation of patients by the private hospitals.

The analysis showed that 40.85% of the charges were for medicines, consumables and devices, and 15.56% was for diagnostic services, the SJM said. In other words, these two constituted 56.41% of the total cost, it said.

“SJM demands an urgent intervention of the government to put an end to this shameless profiteering at the cost of peoples’ lives,” SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said in a statement.

Currently, there is no price control on diagnostic services. When price control on coronary stents was introduced, many hospitals increased the procedural charges and refused to pass on the benefit of the reduced price to patients, he said.

“SJM urges the government to fix the charges of procedures, and fixed cost of treatment such as diagnostic services, consultation charges and equipment costs,” Mahajan added.

He further said this could be done using the powers under the concurrent list, which empowered the government to legislate on price control and supply of essential goods and services.

SJM also demanded that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) carry out an investigation of anti-competitive practices followed by hospitals in the pricing of medicines and medical devices.