Centre notifies new ceiling price of coronary stents

Bengaluru: In a huge relief to lakhs of patients, the Centre issued the notification for fixing the ceiling price of coronary stents.

Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar said the ceiling prices of Bare Metal Stents (BMS), having 10% market share, had been capped at Rs7,260 and Drug Eluting stents (DES), having 90% market share, at Rs. 29,600. 

These prices are exclusive of VAT and other local taxes. The minister further stated that since most of the states have 5% VAT on stents, the MRP of BMS and DES would be Rs.7623 and Rs. 31,080.  

"The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has fixed the prices within 60 days as required," he added.

Informing that the step was a major action on the unethical margins charged at each stage in the supply chain of coronary stents, the minister said the new prices would not have an adverse impact on the industry.  

"The average MRP in the market for BMS was Rs. 45,000 and for DES Rs. 1,21,000.  This has been reduced to Rs. 7623 for BMS and Rs. 31,080 for DES. Thus, based on price reduction, patients will get average benefit of 80-90 thousand per stent resulting into a gross relief of Rs. 4450 crores in one year," he said.

The minister said violations or deviations by manufacturers and hospitals would attract "cancellation of licences" and would be subject to "criminal charges". "The excess cost charged will have to be returned to the buyer at an interest rate of 15%. Also, the manufacturers should continue manufacturing at the large volumes they have been in the last three years. There must not be a reduced manufacturing of stents as an aftermath of this regulation," he said.

 

Reactions from doctors

Several doctors welcomed the move. "Heart attack is no more a rich man’s disease," Dr Vijayalakshmi Balekundri. "Due to smoking and stress people of all sections of society are succumbing to heart attack. Stenting of coronaries especially with drug eluting stent has bailed out many lives. Exorbitant cost of the stent was eluding the best treatment for many suffering in India. The central government has done a great service to the have nots by cutting the cost by a whopping 85%!" 

 

Dr Shashidhar Buggi, Director-RGUHS, termed the move as "historic". "There is a need for such regulatory measures for other consumables& procedures and ICU charges to provide affordable and quality healthcare," said Buggi.

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