New Delhi: Drug pricing regulator NPPA on Friday ruled out a mid-term revision of coronary stent prices, saying it would revisit the matter in February 2018 after taking into consideration all related issues.
In February this year, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had reduced prices of coronary stents by up to 85 percent, capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for the drug-eluting variety, giving a major relief to patients.
The maximum retail price of a stent prior to the price cap ranged from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1.98 lakh.
Stent manufacturers had stated the step would lead to non-availability of advanced forms of the medical device due to pricing issues.
Earlier in April, the government had rejected applications by multinational firms Abbott and Medtronic seeking withdrawal of their advanced coronary stents from India and asked them to maintain supplies of the products.
In a notification at that time, NPPA had asked the companies to consider options for price revision before deciding to withdraw their products from the market.
While capping the price of the stents, the government had made it mandatory for stent makers to maintain production and supply of coronary stents by invoking an emergency clause under drug price control law citing reports of shortage in the market.
The move of capping the prices of stents was opposed by medical device makers at that time, with CII Medical Technology Division Chairman Himanshu Baid stating that “this move could limit the accessibility of cutting-edge technologies in coronary stents for Indian patients, affecting both treatment quality and risking the high-growth medical tourism sector”.
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.