NEW DELHI: A demand by multinational cardiac stent manufacturers to introduce a separate category of “technologically advanced and superior quality stents” that can be priced higher has not gone down well with Indian manufacturers and health activists.
In February 2017, India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had fixed a price of `30,000 for a coronary stent—a tiny device used in angioplasty to improve blood flow in the arteries to treat blockage in the heart. The move had led to prices of stents being slashed by up to 85 per cent.
The decision, however, also caused the withdrawal of several global stent manufacturers from the Indian market who have since then been lobbying with government bodies for a separate category of high-end stents to skirt the price cap.
The NPPA, on Monday, held a meeting with several industry representatives and civil society members to get their feedback before it decides on whether stent prices need to be reviewed this year.
“Representatives of companies like Abbot, Boston Scientific and Medtronics tried hard to pursuade the officials that high-end stents are useful in case of complex and difficult cases, but were told that an expert panel of the ministry of health and family welfare has shot down the idea,” said a source in the NPPA.
Mira Shiva of All India Drug Action Network, which has been at the forefront of the debate that led to the price capping of the medical device, said that the foreign manufacturers were pushing an idea “without any scientific basis or evidences”. Ganesh Rawat, CEO of Sahajanand Medical Techologies, an Indian manufacturer, said that Indian companies did not support the claim put forth by the manufacturers from the US and other countries.
Heart of the matter
Rs 45,000 to Rs 3 lakh was the price range of cardiac stents before price capping by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority
J30,000 is the fixed price of a stent now 5-yearly price review of device has been proposed by All India Drug Action Network, instead of the proposed annual review.