Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Tuesday said the government would soon address the issue of rising cost of healthcare.The issue of rising healthcare cost was raised in the Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour by Congress MP Shantaram Naik, who said hospitals should not be allowed to trade in medical devices and charge high prices for these from patients. He said patients should be permitted to obtain such devices from open market."Patients were being forced to pay double or even triple the price for medical devices at hospitals. As most of these are not available in the open market, patients can't check prices and are held hostage by hospitals, which force them to buy at the price they quote," Naik said.
Naik said devices, medicines and diagnostics could account for as much as 70 percent of a hospital's profit."Experts feel that making it mandatory to declare the maximum retail price on each device could help cap the price and make companies compete to offer lower prices," Naik said.Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien observed that rising health care cost was a serious issue and asked the health minister, who was present in the house, to comment on it.On the Chair's instruction, the health minister said: "Government is in the process of framing a new health policy. This issue will be addressed in the new health policy".