The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s new policy on stents is welcome as it improves access and brings in transparency, but capping coronary stent prices may hurt manufacturers, according to Medanta Chairman Naresh Trehan.
In a major relief to cardiac patients, the country's drug pricing regulator NPPA on Tuesday issued a notification capping coronary stent prices much below the existing prices.
A stent is a tiny expandable metal scaffold to open up narrowed or weakened arteries to ensure blood flow preventing heart attacks.
A bare metal stent on average costs about Rs 10,000-20,000, while a drug eluting stent (DES) ranges between Rs 25,000-80,000. NPPA has now capped the prices of bare metal stent at Rs 7,260 and drug eluting stent (DES) and biodegradable stents at Rs 29,600. Both the prices are exclusive of value added tax.
DES constitutes 95 percent of the market. NPPA has asked all the manufacturers selling stents at prices higher than the ceiling price to cut the price in compliance with the notification.
Trehan said the NPPA policy doesn’t address issues such as pricing of special stents and those in inventory. He asserted that the policy must consider flexible pricing for new technology stents.
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