NEW DELHI: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority on Monday further reduced the price cap on cardiac stents by fixing a ceiling of Rs 27, 890.
The authority last year, had for the first time fixed the price cap of Rs 30,180 on coronary stents that is used in the procedure angioplasty to treat blockages in heart.
The authority also made the trade margins on some other medical devices used in the procedure like Cardiac balloon catheter, Cardiac guiding catheter, Cardiac guidewire public. The trade margin for imported version of some of these products are as high as over 400 per cent while indigenous manufacturers earn up to 230 per cent profit on these devices, the agency found in its analysis.
Last year, NPPA had analysed trade margins of some 19 medical devices and had been facing demands to release the information in public domain.
All India Drug Action Network, an association of health professionals and activists, that had been at the forefront of movement to bring stents under price capping said that " NPPA has taken a decisive step in favor of ensuring affordability to patients".
"We are glad that the Government did not cave to massive pressure that was being exerted by the industry for differential pricing without any scientific basis," the NGO said.
"We are further encouraged that the NPPA has shared data on the huge trade margins involved in catheters, balloons, and guidewires. Expansion of price control to these devices is a necessary step to making procedures like angioplasty/angiogram more affordable and accessible to patients. As we have previously raised, the NPPA should write to the CCI to conduct an investigation on the large hospital chains for abusing their dominant position and overcharging for angioplasties post the price cap," it further added.
Medical Technology Association of India, a Union of Indian medical device makers, on the other hand, expressed disappointment over the government move.
"It will limit the patient choice and the availability of innovative technologies in the market," said Pawan Choudary, director general of MTal.