The diagnostic centers in the city are fleecing the people in the absence of proper monitoring from the health administration. After the health zone established near Arilova, the port city has been emerged as medical hub. People from north Andhra and neighboring states are also coming for better treatment to the city. Some patients urge that the fees and quality of medical diagnostic tests should be regularized including the one associated with hospitals. According to Economic Survey 2018, the huge difference in average price of medical diagnostic tests across cities need to be addressed by regularizing rates in order to reduce Out of Pocket expenses (OPE) on health services. Even for routine tests or essential ones, the price varies by 100 percent. The sugar test costs Rs 60 while some are charging Rs 120-140 claiming that their test accuracy is good.
There is also a huge gap in normal health check-up tests for liver, thyroid, kidney and lipid profile. When this correspondent spoke to various popular diagnostic centers to check the price, one diagnostic center charging Rs 290 for lipid test while other is charging Rs 440 for the same. The case is similar for other tests like thyroid and kidney tests. To ensure that the diagnostic tests become accurate and affordable to all, the World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with 58 essential tests that should be monitored. The list concentrates on in vitro tests, tests of human specimens like blood and urine. It contains 113 tests, of which 58 tests are listed for detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions, providing an essential package that can form the basis for screening and management of patients.
The remaining 55 tests are designed for detection, diagnosis and monitoring of priority diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus and syphilis. Expressing concern over the unethical practices of diagnostic centers, Indian Medical Association (AP) honorary general secretary and Indian Public Health Association State president Dr K S Karuna Murthy said that diagnosis is the basis of treatment. So, if incorrectly diagnosed, one would not receive the treatment they need and, in some cases, may actually receive the wrong treatment. The glucometer test costs the lab about Rs 20 including the establishment charges. So, how one can charge over a Rs 100 for the same. He also pointed out that many people employed in the diagnostic centers were also not qualified and hence the accuracy could have been compromised. “Some doctors are working hand in glove with the diagnostic centers to get the commission, which is a very dangerous trend for the healthcare field. The labs should be properly monitored by the health officials to ensure that health service becomes affordable and accessible for all,” he added. – The Hans India