In a major relief to patients, the government has reduced prices of coronary stents by up to 85 (rpt) 85 per cent, capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for the drug eluting variety.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) in a notification said in public interest, it has fixed the ceiling price of bare metal stents at Rs 7,260 and that of drug eluting stents and bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS)/biodegradable stents at Rs 29,600.
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.
The maximum retail cost of a stent currently ranges from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1.98 lakh.
Data at NPPA website showed that hospitals make the maximum profits on stents, with trade margin going up to 654 per cent.
Citing the reasons for its order, NPPA said: “...it was found that huge unethical markups are charged at each stage in the supply chain of coronary stents resulting in irrational, restrictive and exorbitant prices in a failed market system driven by information asymmetry between patients and doctors pushing patients to financial misery”.
Under such extraordinary circumstances, there is an urgent necessity, in public interest, to fix ceiling price of coronary stents to bring respite to the patients, it added.
The government had included coronary stents in the national list of essential medicines (NLEM), 2015 in July 2016 and in the first Schedule of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 2013 in December 2016.