The central government is sending mixed signals to the private healthcare industry. On one hand, it wants private hospitals and other stakeholders to play a major role in fulfilling the ambitious plans it has outlined in the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017. On the other, it is increasingly taking a tough stance against the prevalent pricing systems, since it can't ignore the affordability factor. In fact, NHP rightly observes that the regulatory environment around pricing requires a balance between patients concern for affordability and industry's concern for adequate returns on investment for growth and sustainability.
Several of the current interventions like capping of prices of certain medical devices and hinting at expanding the list to others, how-ever, are more an irritant than a fruitful intervention to make healthcare affordable to the masses. A better way to deal with the situation would be to structure transparent partnerships that offer profitability, without compromising affordability, instead of knee-jerk reactions and piecemeal price control measures.
Joe C. Mathew