New Delhi, 14th February 2018: Prices of expensive drug eluting cardiac stents have been further slashed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and the cost of basic metallic stents have been marginally increased. After several rounds of consultation with various stakeholders, the price of drug-eluting stent (DES) have been slashed by Rs 1,710 (from Rs 29,600 to Rs 27,890) while the price of bare metal stent (BMS) has been increased by Rs 400 (from Rs 7,260 to Rs 7,660). In an order, the NPPA said that the trade margin has been capped at 8%, making the current rates valid till 31st March 2019.
Under the order, all manufacturers of coronary stents, selling branded or non-branded, at prices higher than the ceiling price, shall revise the price of all such stents downward not exceeding the ceiling price. It also mandates hospitals to provide a clear break-up of the prices levied for other items used in medical procedures.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate PastNational President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Stents are medicines and included in the drugs and cosmetics act. They have been put under NLIM and are, therefore, an essential item under price capping. This is definitely a move in the positive direction. Also, with the capping of prizes of stents there should also be simultaneous capping of all the accessories used along with stents including all types of angiography catheters, pacemakers and other cardiac devises”
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Vice President, CMAAO, said, “This price reduction and the indication to hospitals to provide a price break up will help in curbing unethical practices such as charging more from patients for procedure, treatment and post-care, to recover their losses due to reduction in stent prices. Further, it will help in removing the public agony and mistrust over doctors and hospitals. Currently, the entire medical fraternity is under scanner for all wrong reasons and for acts committed by a certain section. Such steps will help dispel these doubts and fears in the minds of people.”
A coronary stent is a tiny wire mesh tube that is placed inside an artery in order to remove any blockages and widen it so that blood flow is uninterrupted. It is also used to support weak arteries which have difficulty in maintaining blood flow. Stents that are not coated with drugs are called bare metal stents. There is another category of stents which elute an anti-proliferative drug to prevent cell proliferation — known as “medicated stents” or drug eluting stents (DES). Both are widely used.