New Delhi: Moving ahead with its price capping policy, it is expected that the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) will be capping the prices of 14 more medical devices in coming months.
It is expected that as in the case of price ceiling of cardiac implants, soon orthopedic implants, intraocular lenses and artificial heart valves to consumables such as syringes, needles and catheters and few other devices will be in line for price ceiling. In a recent report, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked the manufactures to submit their details of devices along with manufacturing cost.
NPPA chairman Bhupendra Singh told TOI, “We are collecting data on these devices on a war-footing. It will give us a fair idea about the volume of consumption, cost of manufacturing and price at which they are supplied to a patient. Exorbitant pricing in the health system will be dealt with strongly.”
According to the NPPA data, currently, only 14 devices are classified as ‘drugs’ under Section 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, but none feature in the list of essential medicines. Cardiac stents therefore had to be included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NELM) before their prices could be capped. If a drug is not in the NELM, the NPPA can merely ensure that their MRP is not increased by more than 10% annually, reports TOI.
Also the NPPA has found that like stents, orthopedic implants such as hip and knee implants are the second highest imported devices in the country. These implants easily see profit margins in the range of 500-1,000%, industry insiders said. Indian implants too are sold at margins of 200-500%, though surgeons often prefer imported types.
Speaking over the profit margins made by manufactures, Singh said, “It is therefore important for us to see the extent of profiteering in other devices and seek the union health ministry’s help to add them to the list of essential medicines before their prices can be capped. In our online platform IPDMS (Integrated Pharmaceutical Database Management System), a tab has been created for information on medical devices and not just stents.”
“We did an elaborate study before cracking the whip on stents. When an original manufacturer sells a product, the cost of innovation, packaging and everything else is built into it. The importer spends nothing on R&D or packaging. The money is only spent on marketing, paying commissions and distorting the system. With price-capping, affordability will increase,” he added.