After fixing a ceiling price on cardiac stents, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) issued a new order asking the manufacturers to deter from creating artificial shortage of stents in the market.
It said those manufacturers recalling / re-labelling / re-sticking on containers / packs of released stocks of cardiac stents in market prior to NPPA’s price ceiling announcement should ensure stocks are maintained to avoid shortage of coronary stents.
The new order was released on Thursday (February 16) after NPPA was informed that some manufacturers / importers / distributors were trying to create artificial shortage of stents in the market.
It further said manufacturers trying to create artificial shortage of stents can create trouble for patients in need of it and clarified that revised prices of stents do not mean that revised prices get deferred for stock in circulation.
NPPA has written to all chief secretaries to ensure compliance of stents price capping, its availability and uninterrupted cardiac care services. It further explained that price capping exercise of cardiac stents by NPPA was rationalisation of prices by slashing bad ‘profiteering’ and leaving reasonable ‘profits’.
“I think there are many nuances to the prices of medical devices. Firstly, I whole-heartedly welcome government’s commitment to lowering health-care costs by reducing stent pricing. This will go a long way to make angioplasty affordable. At the same time, let us also understand that stents come in various qualities. All stents are not equal. Some stents with innovative design features would cost more. In order to ensure that state-of-the-art technology in stents continues to come to India, we must allow for differential pricing: a Tier II stent with a base price of say 30,000, and a Tier I stent with premium features will be priced much higher. This will result in a true win-win situation for both masses and classes,” said Dr Kaushal Chattrapati, Interventional Cardiologist, Surana Sethia Hospital.
Doctors said while NPPA’s decision is a welcome move, it is regressive in nature as it will deter manufacturers from introducing innovative stent technologies in India.
“There are different sizes and quality of stents, but NPPA has put all types of stents into one category. This will deter companies to introduce latest advance stents in Indian market,” said Dr Ajay Chaurasia, Head of Cardiology Department at BYL Nair Hospital.
Dr Chhattrapati added, “Let us see to it that we have a healthy balance of both affordable devices and latest cutting-edge devices so that our superiority in health care remains second to none.”
Need to know
To ensure that stent price capping benefits are passed on to the patients and no artificial shortage created, NPPA has issued following complaint numbers:
Stent price capping, complaints may be done to following numbers of NPPA: 9695736333 (Chairman), 9560032425 (MS), 1800114424 (Helpline)