A year after it announced a price cap on coronary stents, the Centre is set to revise those prices, as the move was valid only for a year. A key decision over the pricing is expected to be taken today, as the National Pharma Pricing Authority holds a meeting with medical device manufacturers and other stakeholders.
In February, 2017 the ceiling price of bare metal stents had been fixed at Rs 7,260, and that of drug-eluting stents and biodegradable stents at Rs 29,600.
The move brought down prices of stents by almost 85 per cent, and has been largely supported by domestic manufacturers, even as international stent manufacturers have opposed the decision stating that it hurts "innovation". At a meeting held with the NPPA earlier this month on revision of prices, the Medical Technology Association of India, an association of global manufacturers, recommended creating "sub-categories" for stents to ensure "technological innovation".
According to the NPPA, the price cap has led to an increase in the number of angioplasties, a reduction in bypass surgeries and has not affected the flow of medical tourists – as was suggested by those opposing the move. The use of bare metal stents has gone down by 30 per cent and replaced by drug eluting stents.
Activists working on the issue, however, have pointed out that the government ought to bring other medical devices such as catheters and syringes under price cap too, as hospitals make huge margins on these.