Stent prices have been slashed. But, will it benefit patients?
By K Shiva Shanker | Express News Service | Published: 14th February 2018 04:16 AM |
HYDERABAD: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has further reduced the ceiling price on Drug-Eluting and Bioresorbable Stents by around Rs 1,700. However, sources in private hospitals say the benefit might not reach patients as hospitals often choose to offset the reduction by increasing procedural costs. On Monday, NPPA revised ceiling price of DES to Rs 27,890 from previous Rs 29,600. However, this year, price of Bare Metal Stents have been marginally increased from Rs 7,260 to Rs 7,600.
“Though the decision to further slash the price is good, hospitals can always cover up the reduced price by increasing procedural cost. The bill before and after the new price revision could remain the same. Procedure cost involves charges for operation, room where a patient is admitted, food, fees to surgeon and others. These aspects of a bill can be nominally increased to make up for the reduced stent prices,” a private hospital insider said.
Private Hospitals offer the surgery and post-operative treatment as a package. For instance, it could be a two to three-day package. “One the first day, stent is placed in the coronary artery and patient is shifted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Post-operative treatment will be provided on second and third day. Private hospitals charge around `1.4 to `1.6 lakh for the package,” sources said.
The cost of package before stents ceiling price revision in 2017, was around Rs 2.3 lakh. No government agency has powers to check or regulate procedure costs at private hospitals. State Drug Control Administration (DCA) can initiate action only if MRP violation is reported. “We can check only cost of stents in hospital bills. We can take action only if the charges are more than MRP plus GST. There were no violations reported last year,” said T Kailasam, joint director, DCA.