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Coronary stents get cheaper by up to 85%

In a major relief to millions of cardiac patients, the government on Tuesday cut prices of life-saving coronary stents by up to 85 per cent by capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal stents and Rs 29,600 for drug eluting variety.

According to sources, the final decision in this regard has been taken after the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as stent manufacturing companies were "not ready to give up their profits" and that's the reason it took more than a year for the government to bring pharma majors on board.

The maximum retail price of bare metal stents (BMS) and drug eluting stents (DES) will be Rs 7,623 and Rs 31,080, respectively, inclusive of VAT and other local taxes. The new prices are applicable with immediate effect, Chemical and Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said while announcing the decision. The government has asked the companies to change the MRP of the existing stock.

The proposal to cap exorbitant princes of stents was conceived by former National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) chairman Injeti Srinivas and he paid the price for going ahead with the "bold" move as the 1983-batch IAS officer was shifted from NPPA in March 2015 to the Sports Ministry.

A bare metal stent costs Rs 7,000- 20,000, while drug-eluting stents, which are inserted into diseased coronary arteries and release drugs to prevent cell proliferation, make up almost 95 per cent of the market and cost between Rs 30,000 and Rs 80,000, while the price of a dissolvable stent in India is Rs 2-3 lakh.

Notably, Millennium Post broke the story on the price of stents being capped in March 2015. A coronary stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It keeps the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart diseases.

"We want to stop the menace of over-pricing of coronary stents in various hospitals. After careful consideration and after having inputs from various stakeholders, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has decided to fix the ceiling prices for cardiac stents," the minister said, adding that the capping of the stent price will result in saving of Rs 80,000-90,000 per piece and gross relief of Rs 4,450 crore in a year for cardiac patients.
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