Price control on stents to continue: Government
New Delhi: The government on Thursday said it will continue with the price cap on life-saving coronary stents and asked the industry to be ready to meet the demand for medical devices once the mega health insurance plan is rolled out.
Earlier this year, the government had revised the ceiling prices for bare metal stents and drug-eluting ones. Last year, it slashed the rates by up to 85 percent.
In case of bare metal stents (BMS), the government has increased the prices from current Rs 7,400 to Rs 7,660. The price of drug-eluting stents (DES) has been lowered to Rs 27,890 from Rs 30,180.
"We have reduced the stent prices further this year ... Price control will continue on stent," chemical, fertilizer and pharmaceutical minister Ananth Kumar told reporters here.
Earlier, cardiac patients were not able to afford the stent procedure because of high cost and after the price cut, 1-1.5 lakh more patients are benefiting, he said.
India has over 6 crores, cardiac patients, out of which 5-5.5 lakh undergo the stent procedure. About Rs 5,500-6,000 crore has been saved from the price capping of stents, Kumar said.
Stating that the government's national health insurance scheme is a revolutionary step, Kumar said the initiative will provide health security cover to 10 crore vulnerable families.
The scheme has been designed to ensure that the poor are able to get the medical facility, he added.
"I conducted an internal study to know the demographic distribution of medicines. It revealed that 30 percent of the population was consuming 60 percent medicines, while the rest of the population was consuming only 30 percent medicines. To correct this, the Modicare has been launched," he explained.
As the demand for pharma and medical products will increase with this mega healthcare initiative, the industry needs to be prepared for that, the minister said.
Not only infrastructure but also human resources requirement will increase and "all have to be prepared for that," he noted.
Kumar further said that the domestic production of medicine is likely to double to 4 lakh crore in the next five years from the current 2 lakh crore with the implementation of this healthcare initiative.
He further said the government has opened 3,177 Jan Aushadhi Kendra to provide quality drugs at affordable prices across the country. The plan is to open such Kendra in each block in the country.
Talking about fertilizer sector, the minister said the work is in progress with respect to the revival of sick urea plants and the Ramagundam plant in Telangana is expected to be commissioned by end of this year.
The Gadepan-III urea plant in Kota, Rajasthan will be commissioned next year, while that of Sindri (Jharkhand), Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Barauni (Bihar) units between 2020-2023, he said.
Talking about polymers, Kumar said India's demand for plastics is expected to double to 30 million tonnes by 2022 and the country does not have enough human resources especially plastic engineers and technicians to cater the industry need.
The government has set up 16 centers of the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) in the last three years taking the total number of CIPET centers to 27 in the country. The aim is to reach 50 centers by next year, he added.
The students passing out from these institutes have increased to 1.7 lakh from mere 40,000 three years before, he said.