BENGALURU: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on Monday brought down the prices of the most commonly used drug eluting coronary stents, used to clear blockages in the arteries. The maximum price has been cut from `30,180 to `27,890. But it has hiked the prices of bare metal stent prices from `7,400 to `7,660. According to the regulator, hospitals will need to display the prices of accessories like catheters and balloons separately in the bill along with their brand names. Patients will have an option to get a stent and accessories from outside the establishment.
It has also invited comments to check the cost of guide wire, balloon catheters and guiding catheters which are being sold at 15% to 400% margins. Currently, only 8% trade margin has been allowed in stents. Companies which want to discontinue their stents will have to give six months’ notice, according to NPPA. The new rates will be applicable till March 31, 2019. Dr C N Manjunath, Director, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, said, “Patients are going to lose good quality stents, no doubt about it. There’s absolutely no benefit in further slashing the prices. Now we have to just use whatever drug eluting stenst are available in the market.”
REACTING to the cut in the prices of drug eluting stents, AdvaMed, an association representing stent manufacturers, said in a statement, “This notification disregards stakeholder representations and goes against patient interest by failing to reward innovative technologies thereby limiting patient choice for current and future medical device innovations.”
“A recent study by IQVIA, commissioned by AdvaMed, clearly shows that price controls have not led to lower procedure costs – where patients need relief the most. Furthermore, patients have not gained greater access as indicated by the fact that angioplasty treatments have not increased in any meaningful way as a result of this policy. To achieve real on-the-ground impact, we hoped that the government would consider alternate approaches such as Trade Margin Rationalization and differential pricing that have the dual effect of benefiting patients while preserving the environment for innovation and investment in India,” it said.
Dr K K Agarwal, former IMA president, said, “Bare metal stents have a significantly higher rate of restenosis and the need for target vessel revascularization compared with all drug-eluting stents (DES). For most patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention with stenting, one recommends current-generation DES rather than BMS.”