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Oxygen prices treble in Bengaluru; demand up 300% | Bengaluru News – Times of India

Oxygen prices treble in Bengaluru; demand up 300% | Bengaluru News - Times of India

BENGALURU: Private hospitals here say unorganised sector suppliers of medical oxygen from whom they are forced to procure it are charging at least thrice the price fixed by the government.
However, industry representatives insist the organised sector is selling by the book.
Both agree that demand has gone up by at least 300% with a surge in ICU and HDU admissions as the second wave of Covid-19 sweeps across Bengaluru. Industry representatives, while allaying fears of a prolonged supply problem, said the demand could be met by the weekend.
Health minister K Sudhakar told TOI that action will be initiated against those overcharging, while reiterating that supply will improve over the next few days.
Doctor: Many hosps buying oxygen from wherever they can
Dr HM Prasanna, president, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, said: “Medical oxygen price per cubic metre is regulated which is inclusive of transport cost. Given the shortage, many hospitals, especially smaller ones, are buying from wherever they can get it. Last week, I paid Rs 75 per cubic metre, which is almost thrice the prescribed cost.”
A few private hospitals said the going rate in the city is Rs 800-Rs 900 per cylinder. Puneet Sonu, an OT staff at Krishna hospital, said: “We need 25-26 cylinders every 12 hours. With regular suppliers unable to meet our demand, we are forced to purchase from outside. On Tuesday, we purchased 10 cylinders at Rs 900 each.”
Subhashish Guha Roy, MD, Universal Air Products, said the cost of a cylinder is Rs 202, including 12% tax while transport charges are additional. “We don’t charge more than the fixed price,” he said.
At least two other big suppliers TOI spoke with said there was no overcharging, while pointing out that the demand has increased multifold.
An industry representative said Akash hospital is installing a 6,000-litre vessel. Guruprasad Rao, senior manager (sales & marketing), Bhuruka Gases, said: “We produce 65 tonnes per day. Before the pandemic, we sold 50 tonnes per day, now, we sell nearly everything we produce and 80% is going to hospitals.”

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