Pharma pricing panel chief shunted out

Singh had pointed out profiteering by private hospitals

March 01, 2018 10:35 pm | Updated March 02, 2018 07:00 pm IST - New Delhi

Bhupendra Singh.

Bhupendra Singh.

Ten days after he released evidence of profiteering by private hospitals when dengue broke out, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) chairman Bhupendra Singh was transferred on Wednesday night.

The NPAA investigation found that four private hospitals were forcing patients to buy drugs from in-house pharmacies after increasing price margins by nearly 2,000% in some cases.

The government has not yet appointed a replacement to Mr. Singh. This “renders the NPPA non-functional at a critical juncture. Despite evidence, no case has been registered against the hospitals. My writ petition in court has not come up for hearing. From all sides, we are seeing a concerted effort by the corporate hospital lobby to bury the NPPA’s report and make sure that our cases are not heard,” said Jayant Singh, father of seven-year-old Adya who died at Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Gurugram, on September 15, 2017.

Sources in the NPPA said: “Mr. Singh was expecting the transfer due to the pressure mounted from the private hospital lobby.”

In a statement, the All India Drug Action Network said: “We fear that Mr. Singh’s transfer is due to the pressure from the industry and corporate hospital lobbies...”

Sanjay Bhoosreddy, IAS officer and honorary secretary of the central officers association said, “We have never spoken on transfers.”

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