In a notification dated October 31, 2011, the Union health ministry has slashed the price it pays for heart and vascular stents as reimbursement to Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) beneficiaries.
HT had reported that the government paid double the market price (‘CGHS pays double for medical device costing Rs. 45,000’ and ‘CGHS pays double price for bare metal stents’, on September 22 and 23, respectively), highlighting the huge loss to the state exchequer.
The new ceiling rates, which come into effect from November 1, are 60%-80% lower for bare metal stents, down from Rs. 50,000 to an upper limit of Rs. 20,000. Drug-eluting stents prices are down by a third. The Xience and Cypher stents, which were earlier reimbursed for Rs. 90,000 and cost $800-$1,200 (Rs 35,000-Rs 55,000) and Euro 600-700 (Rs 35,000-Rs 45,000) in Europe will now be reimbursed for Rs. 65,000.
“I am happy that the government has woken up and rationalised stent prices as they have been long over due,” said Dr Upendra Kaul, executive director and dean (academics) at Fortis-Escorts Heart Research Institute. Escorts performs close to 4,000 stenting procedures in a year. “It will not only save tax-payers’ money but will also make the angioplasty more affordable for people who are not insured,” said Dr Viveka Kumar, director, cath laboratory at Max Hospital, Saket. Max group of hospitals does close to 2,400 procedures annually.
“Apart from bringing down the cost of the procedure, this move will also give the Indian stent manufacturers a level playing field with the multinational equipment manufacturers,” said a senior doctor from AIIMS. | Price Revision