New Delhi: People living with heart problems can now have a sigh of relief as the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has on Monday revised the price of coronary stents, reports The Times of India.
In a statement, the NPPA said that prices of Drug Releasing Stents (DRS) – – small wire-mesh structures used to treat blocked arteries — have been slashed to Rs 27,890 from Rs 30,180, while marginally raising the cap on bare metal stents from Rs 7,400 to Rs 7,660. However, these caps are excluding GST.
It is said that the trade margin allowed on stents remains the same at 8%, and the revised price caps will be effective from Tuesday and remain in effect until March 31, 2019.
The NPPA, which had for the first time fixed the price cap of Rs 30,180 on coronary stents, had received several complaints about overcharging on catheters, balloons and guide wires used in the angioplasty procedure used to treat blockages in the heart. The agency, in its analysis, found that the trade margin for the imported version of some of these consumables are as high as over 400 percent while indigenous manufacturers earn up to 230 percent profit on these devices. Hence, the authority has asked for the prices of accessories like catheters, balloons and others to be displayed separately in the hospital bills along with brand names.
At present, there is no law in India which allows the government to regulate these charges.
Meanwhile, the NPPA’s decision to cap stent prices has been welcomed by All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN). In a statement, AIDAN asked for the expansion of price cap to consumables as a necessary step to make procedures like angiography and angioplasty more affordable and accessible to patients.
The Medical Technology Association of India, a Union of Indian medical device makers, on the other hand, has expressed disappointment over the move, adding that it will limit the choice as well as the availability of innovative technologies in the market.