Hospitals forced to stop angioplasties as stents disappear from market despite warning

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on Monday announced cut prices of life—saving coronary stents by up to 85 per cent. After this manufacturers removed high-end stents from the market

stent illustration

Elective angioplasties in the city take a hit even after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) issues notification asking the cardiac stent manufacturers to ensure that adequate stocks are maintained to avoid shortage of such coronary stents.

The NPPA on Monday announced cut prices of life—saving coronary stents by up to 85 per cent by capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for drug eluting variety. Following the order, cardiac stents especially the high end ones, were taken away from the cath-labs in the name of relabeling.

“We didn’t have bio absorbable stents (used in treating blocked coronary artery unlike metallic stents, which stays permanently in the body. This stent disappears completely from the body within 2 to 3 years of time.) We did angioplasties with available dated version stents. So far, elective angioplasties are kept on hold and we are concentrating on emergency angioplasties,” said Dr Ajay Chaurasia, cardiologist and head of cardiology department BYL Nair Hospital.

With numerous complaints received by NPPA on attempts made by distributors on artificial scarcity on cardiac stents, it decided to warn the manufacturers on Thursday said the manufacturers/importers need to maintain production, import and supplies of stents.

“We faced the shortage for two days but by afternoon, the stents were made available,” said Dr Ganesh Kumar, cardiologist at Dr LH Hiranandani hospital.

Most of the elective angioplasties are kept on hold because of shortage of stents in the market after National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) issued a notification to fix ceiling price of cardiac stents earlier this week.

“We had a limited number of stents. In the disguise of relabeling, the stents were taken away. We are managing with available first generation stents,” said Dr. Hasmukh Ravat, cardiologist at Fortis Hospital.

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Maharashtra carried out survey in some of the hospitals in Mumbai region and checked regarding the availability of stents. “It is noticed that presently stents are available. All the division offices are also directed to keep a vigil on the availability of stents. It is hereby requested that all the concerned Doctors and Hospitals should contact their existing distributors for supply of stents,” said a senior FDA officer. NPPA too said manufacturers/ importers must issue revised price lists but relabeling not mandatory.

 In case of shortage or unavailability all concerned may contact Food & Drug Administration, Maharashtra State on help line no. 1800222365, Vinita Thomas, Joint commissioner Greater Mumbai. 26592363-65/26590686, V.T. Paunikar Joint Commissioner – (022) 25811988/25821245

NPPA’s new helpline number: 1800111255, available 24×7 to register complaints regarding prices and supply & availability of coronary stents