New Delhi: Patient access is an indisputable goal. The ways governments try to reach it are many. The easier methods are usually unfruitful. A deeper analysis of the value chain reveals the segments which require deflating. (This deflation, so that it doesn’t set off intractable issues like healthcare unavailability or depression in the sector, should be optimal and competently executed.)
One such informed analysis is the Report of the committee on High Trade Margins in the sale of drugs by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, which is in the public domain. Any government which tries to improve patient access through price control should seriously consider the recommendations of this report.
Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) is an organization which is for Patient Access and has been advocating for a nuanced approach towards Price Control. The questions to ask are: Has Price Control in its current format lead to increase in patient access, has the cost to the patient gone down? And are there any unintended consequences born out of the current construct of price control?
To fine tune the decisions on price control taken so far, for Knee Implants MTaI recommends that (i) Bone Cement should be allowed to be charged by the companies, (ii) components of revision knee surgery portion not included in the price order be priced as per the current MRPs and (iii) Instrumentation should be allowed to attract a service fee in knee replacement surgery as there is a significant cost for every instrument, their maintenance, transportation by channel and cleaning/ sterilization by hospitals. MTaI also recommends differentiation of Coronary Stents based on various parameters like Morbidity, Restenosis, Navigability amongst others.