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Standard treatment protocol likely

PTI, May 24, 2011
New Delhi: The Government is considering bringing a standard treatment protocol in which cost of healthcare might be incorporated to curb the divergence that exists in pricing. Addressing a national policy forum on ‘Evolving Consumer-friendly Healthcare Systems’ in India, Joint Secretary in the Department of Pharmaceuticals Arun Jha indicated that the government is considering such a protocol.

According to a recent study on divergence in healthcare pricing, a Caesarian section can cost anything between Rs 3,500 to Rs 50,000 in the country.

The meeting was organised by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) with support from Oxfam India. One of the issues raised by a number of speakers was the loose nature of healthcare regulation in the country and the need to evolve a dynamic outline in the interest of consumers.

Speakers said civil society organisations need to join forces to evolve an effective regulatory framework.

Renuka Jain Gupta, representing the Competition Commission of India, encouraged participants to share instances that hint at the possibility of anti-competitive practices in the healthcare sector in the country.

CUTS shared the findings of its research project undertaken in two states – Assam and Chhattisgarh – which demonstrates how consumers are affected by malpractices in healthcare, which seem to have originated from collusive arrangements between players in the sector.
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