Cost of cardiac stents cut by 75%: Dept of pharmaceuticals prohibits manufacturers from withdrawing products

After the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), India's drug pricing regulator, reduced the price of cardiac stents by almost 75 percent, the government now has prohibited stent-makers from withdrawing their products from the market for the next six months.

 Cost of cardiac stents cut by 75%: Dept of pharmaceuticals prohibits manufacturers from withdrawing products

Representational image. Reuters

Cardiac stents are wire mesh tubes — extremely small ones — used to unclog coronary arteries and help in preventing heart attacks. The NPPA proposed that the maximum prices of the drug-eluting stents (DES) be fixed between Rs 21,881 and Rs 67,272, according to an Economic Times report.

According to The Times of India, the government has "invoked special powers under the law directing companies to maintain production, import and supply of coronary stents to avoid any shortage." After the pricing regulation was announced, big pharma companies like Abott, Medtronic and Boston Scientific Corporation are looking to recall their products.

According to another Economic Times report, an Abbott spokesperson is quoted as saying, "Following the NPPA price ceiling decision in February 2017 and over the past two months, we have examined and re-examined whether there is a sustainable way to make available in India two of Abbott's latest stent technologies — the Alpine drug eluting stent and the Absorb dissolving stent — considering their higher manufacturing costs and other associated costs."

According to another Economic Times report, the manufacturers and importers have been directed to submit a weekly report on the number of coronary stents being produced and distributed in India, including weekly production plans to NPPA and the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

The Times of India has also reported that there a few stent-makers who are finding novel ways to circumvent the price caps including special offers like "buy 10 and get 3 free". Addressing this problem, the NPPA has issued a memorandum asking companies to abide by its rules, warning that failure to do so would mean that the companies would be prosecuted under the Essential Commodities Act.

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Updated Date: Apr 25, 2017 13:48:42 IST