Thursday, July 21, 2016

INNLIVE IMPACT: 'Cardiac Stents' To Come Under Price Control


As the INNLIVE published the news story,  the government waked up and issued the orders to form a cores committee to analyse the cardiac stents prices and import regulations and make the necessary arrangements for immediate price control.

In a significant development which will cheer patients, prices of cardiac stents will be capped with immediate effect. This follows the inclusion of cardiac stents in the National List of Essential Medicines, prepared by the health ministry. In the next step, drug pricing regulator NPPA is expected to announce ceiling prices to bring these exorbitantly-priced medical devices under price control, official sources say, adding the final modalities are being worked out.

A core committee had recommended earlier that cardiac stents be included in the national list of essential medicines

Following a petition earlier this year, the Delhi High Court had directed the government to monitor prices of stents in the market. Recently, a Rajya Sabha committee which met in Bangalore has also recommended a mechanism to check exorbitant prices of cardiac stents to safeguard patient's interest, while promoting cost effectiveness in industry.

Over the past year, there have been several complaints about overcharging, with regulators investigating cases where patients have coughed up almost four to five times the landed cost (price at which these are imported) for devices like cardiac stents. These are sold with mark-ups as high as 250-400%, resulting in a huge gap between the imported price and price charged to patients. Worse, medical devices like cardiac stents do not carry the MRP tag on individual packs, bringing in ambiguity and making it easier for hospitals to overcharge patients.
Efforts to bring down prices of medical devices, including stents, have failed till now as the government has not been able to reach a consensus, with some departments having opposed the move saying it may impede potential foreign investment.

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