Govt reduces prices of stents, again
New Delhi: A year after it announced a price cap on coronary stents, the Centre on Monday announced the revised prices of stents which would be valid for another one – till March 31, 2019.
According to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority chairman Bhupendra Singh, the prices of drug-eluting stents (DES) has been revised from existing Rs 30,180 (including GST) to Rs 27,890 (excluding GST) while the prices of bare-metal stent (BMS) has been revised from existing Rs 7,400 (including GST) to Rs 7,660 (excluding GST). After the new price fixation, the bare-metal stents would be costlier by Rs 400 as prices of stents of this category was fixed at Rs 7,260 (excluding taxes) in February 2017, while drug-eluting stents would be further cheaper by Rs 1,710 as prices of such stents was fixed at Rs 29,600 last year.
"At the meeting, it was also decided that device manufacturers would not introduce any subcategories of drug-eluting stents, while the prices of catheters, etc would be mentioned in billing separately. The trade margin has been capped at 8 per cent," the NPPA chairman told Millennium Post.
Notably, the proposal to cap exorbitant prices of stents was conceived by former NPPA chairman Injeti Srinivas, who had paid the price for going ahead with the "bold" move as the 1983-batch IAS officer was shifted from NPPA in March 2015. The move had brought down prices of stents by almost 85 per cent, and was largely supported by domestic manufacturers, even as international stent manufacturers have opposed the decision stating that it hurts "innovation".
According to the NPPA chairman, the price cap has resulted into an increase in the number of angioplasties, a reduction in bypass surgeries and has not affected the flow of medical tourists – as was forecasted by those opposing the move. The use of bare metal stents has gone down by 30 per cent and replaced by drug-eluting stents.