NEW DELHI: Nearly two years after all stents — used during a cardiac intervention called angioplasty — were brought under price-capping, patients could soon have to pay extra for latest generation biodegradable stents.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is set to remove new-generation stents from the price control list on the grounds that they are technologically advanced.
“The new generation of stents that get dissolved in the body are latest and unless we remove them from the national list of essential medicines, manufacturers will not be interested in making them,” a source in the NPPA said.
Next week, a high-level meeting consisting of government officials and industry representatives has been called to discuss and finalise the issue.
The move on price-capping had come in February 2017 after the government described India’s market for coronary stents as dogged by “exploitative pricing”. A market analysis by the NPPA had earlier revealed that distributors in the stent supply chain and hospitals made massive profits on each stent, inflating costs to patients.
Following the decision, some MNCs had either withdrawn their latest generation stents from Indian market or decided against introducing them.
Many cardiologists welcomed latest move to introduce a differential pricing for the stents. “Differential pricing of stents will ensure patients have access to high-end stents as per the need,” said a senior member of the Cardiologist Society of India. “The more complex a case, the safer it gets with the latest generations of stents. In conditions such as bifurcation disease, chronic total occlusions or calcified and tortuous vessels, the latest generation stents are easier to deliver.”