Boston Scientific, a stent manufacturing giant, has asked the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to let them sell stents in India at “special prices” higher than Rs 30,000.
Although the NPPA in February capped the coronary stent prices at Rs30,000, section 11B of the Drug Price Control Act, allows companies to seek special category status.
Moreover, two leading international stent manufacturers — Abbott and Medtronics — approached the NPPA last week to withdraw their latest generation of stents from the Indian market.
On February 15, the government slashed stent prices in the country by nearly 75%. While the bare metal stents were capped at Rs7,260 per unit, the price of drug eluting stents and biodegradable stents has been fixed at Rs29,600 per unit. The government made the move after learning that patients were grossly overcharged for stents, with hospitals making maximum margins.
The move had upset international stent manufacturers who said it was not ‘commercially viable’ for them to sell the stents in India, at the capped prices.
Last week, Abbott approached the NPPA to withdraw their two stents Absorb, a bio-absorbable stent and drug eluting stent Xience Alpine, which were priced at Rs 1.9 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh respectively.
Medtronics too has written to the NPPA, asking permission for withdrawal of its drug eluting stent, Resolute Onyx. “We have submitted an application for withdrawal of Resolute Onyx (latest generation drug eluting stent) under the provisions of Drug Price Control Order. We will continue to supply Resolute Onyx till we get the required permissions from the authorities. Our decision to withdraw or introduce products is made only after taking into consideration all guidelines and norms set by the government,” Medtronics told HT.
The NPPA authorities however said they are yet to look at the applications submitted by Abbott and Medtronics. “I haven’t gone through their applications. Will be able to comment on them on Monday evening,” said Dr Bhupendra Singh, NPPA chairman. The decision on Boston Scientific’s application is yet to be put up on the NPPA website.