NPPA’s move on fixing price of knee implants lauded by experts

The cap on ceiling prices of orthopaedic knee implants for knee replacement surgery means that all manufacturers will have to comply and implement the ceiling prices for the knee replacement as well the revision surgery, a move welcomed by doctors across the country

NPPA’s move on fixing price of knee implants lauded by experts

With the government introducing a new move to make healthcare affordable and maintaining transparency in the cost of the medical equipment and implants by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was welcomed by doctors across the country.

The much appreciated move was announced by NPPA in regards to putting a cap on the ceiling prices of orthopaedic knee implants for knee replacement surgery. The move basically means that all manufacturers will have to comply and implement the ceiling prices for the knee replacement as well as the revision surgery.

The move came about as a reaction to private hospitals reportedly charging exorbitant rates for knee implants. Hence, the government believes that the move will save the patients an estimated of Rs 1500 crores annually.

“Prices are reasonable. We believe this price cap will help each and every person of this country who needs implants.  However, without reduction in total procedure cost by hospitals, the move may not yield the desired results,” said Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD).

He informed that while six Indian knee implant manufacturers found the prices ‘perfect and reasonable’ and that the caps would help patients, the manufacturers are worried about the implementation of re-labelling of stocks already in the market.

As per the NPPA notification, the ceiling price on knee implants is applicable from August 16. It reads that the new price will apply to all procedures done earlier but billed on August 16. In a tweet on August 17, NPPA said the hospitals are advised to refund extra cost if any, before complaints get registered with the NPPA.

Dr Sudhakar Lawand, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Omkar Lawand Hospital, Satara explained such a move would be very useful given that it will make all the treatments affordable and uniformly charged. “Once the cost becomes uniformed, it will automatically be cut down to make it affordable. This will mean that more and more people will opt for this.”

Some experts further say that it’s too early to comment.

Dr Miten Sheth, consulting knee surgeon in Mumbai as well as an active member of Bombay Orthopaedic Society said that at this point, everything is at a transition level and so, it will be  too early to comment at the moment. However, it’s sure that people who would like to undergo high-end knee replacements will not be benefitted from the move. “It’s very early to say how this move will shape up. But it seems like those who need a high-end knee replacement surgery with high affordability will  now suffer because everything will be standardized.”

What the notification says?

  • If a patient wants to buy knee implant from any other third party sources, the healthcare institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics performing orthopaedic surgical procedures using knee implants cannot solicit him/her from purchasing it from them.
  • It has also warned the manufacturers to ensure the availability of all the brands of implants and ensure that no disruption in caused in the supply chain because of printing new MRPs.
  • As per the notification, the primary knee replacement system will cost between Rs 4,090 to Rs 38, 740 depending upon the feature or material of the knee implant.
  • The NPPA has also fixed the ceiling prices of revision knee replacement system which will be between Rs 4, 090 to Rs 62, 770 depending on the feature and material of the knee implant.
  • In the NPPA notification, it said special orthopaedic knee implants for cancer/tumour etc. will follow the process of revision surgery.

One can register knee implant pricing related complaints through ‘Pharma Jan Samadhan’ or on email: chairman.nppa@nic.in

NPPA helpline no: 1800111255