Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Upto 85% Price Cut of Medical Stent; Decision Effective Feb 14, 2017

In a major relief to heart patients, the government has reduced prices of coronary stents by up to 85%. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has fixed the ceiling price of bare metal stents (BMS) at Rs 7,260 and that of drug eluting stents (DES) and bio resorbable vascular scaffold (BVS)/biodegradable stents at Rs 29,600, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar told reporters here.

The price cap came into force on the midnight of February 13. A coronary stent is a tube shaped device placed in the arteries that supplies blood to the heart. It keeps the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart diseases. So far, the maximum retail cost of a stent ranged from Rs 45,000 to Rs 1,21,000.

Data on the NPPA website showed that hospitals made the maximum profits on stents, with a trade margin up to 654%. “If any hospital or pharmacist charges more than the ceiling price, stern action will be taken against the guilty. This includes withdrawal of licence,”Kumar warned.

The NPPA fixed the ceiling prices after taking into account cost of manufacturing and their profit, the minister said. The price cap will also be applicable on imported stents. This step is a major decisive action on the unethical margins charged at each stage in the supply chain of coronary stents, the minister said. Health groups have welcomed the decision.

“After months of consultations, we welcome the strong and determined action of the government, particularly in the face of a concerted campaign by industry and profit-oriented hospitals to prevent any form of effective price control,”Malini Aisola of the All India Drug Action Network said.

“The most shocking revelation that came to light through the extensive deliberations of the NPPA were about the massive cuts being taken by cardiologists and hospitals,” said G S Grewal of Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Healthcare in a statement.

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