BENGALURU: Fifteen days after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) ordered a cap on the prices of coronary stents, hospitals in the city say stocks of third and fourth generation stents are fast drying up and they cannot procure fourth generation stents at current prices.
Dr C N Manjunath, director, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, the country’s premier government heart hospital, said that fourth generation drug eluting stents were being used in the hospital and they are no longer available.
“Importers are saying they cannot procure fourth generation stents for Rs 30,000 a piece. The NPPA capped its price at Rs 29,600. We are not able to give appropriate treatment for different heart conditions. The issue with older generation stents is that the risk of restenosis is high,” he said.
Restenosis is the recurrence of stenosis, a narrowing of a blood vessel leading to restricted blood flow. Restenosis usually pertains to an artery or other large blood vessel that has become narrow, received treatment to clear the blockage and subsequently become narrowed again.
Dr Subhash Chandra, HoD, Cardiology at Manipal Hospital said, “We are using third generation stents that are available on our shelf.”
Dr A Gopi, HoD, Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, said, “We have stock of third and fourth generation stents. Patients have made passing comments on this issue. Once the stock is exhausted, we will request the companies to provide more. They are bound by the law to provide more.”
Dr Girish, cardiologist at Apollo Hospital, said, “We have third generation stents, but not fourth generation bioresorbable stents. Companies have taken back biodegradable stents. It costs around Rs 1,80,000. Since the cap order, we haven’t had the opportunity to use them. If a patient specifically requests for it, we will request the company to provide it and will do the surgery if the company supplies it.”
When contacted, NPPA chairman Bhupendra Singh said, “Before coronary stents were added to the list of essential medicines, an expert committee of 18 cardiologists was constituted by the Union health ministry. They felt the treatment outcomes are same, hence we went ahead with capping the price.”