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One medicine, five chemists, five price tags, from Rs 1,550 to Rs 255 — all at one hospital
The pharmacies are crowded, and customers usually accept the brand that those manning the counters hand out to them. At all the shops, queries about other brands are met with: “Only this one is available with us”.

  At the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), a patient has the choice to get fleeced or save herself from open wallet surgery. But it all depends on the patient and how well she knows the sprawling campus.

An investigation carried out by Chandigarh Newsline over the last month has revealed that the cost of a medicine can vary widely on the campus, sometimes in a range of Rs 1,500, but the hospital provides no information on or directions to the chemists who charge the least. The two most expensive outlets are located at the Emergency and Trauma centres, where patients and their attenders are at their most vulnerable as the patient needs urgent attention and time is of the essence.

These two outlets are also the most crowded because of the heavy rush of patients arriving in critical condition at Emergency and Trauma Centre. Chandigarh Newsline purchased four different medicines widely prescribed by doctors at the hospital from five chemist outlets located inside the campus, and found a huge discrepancy in the costs. Each chemist stocked a different brand of the identical medicine, that is, the same salt.
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