Will BVS withdrawal deprive patients of most advanced stents?
Before this move, BVS was being sold in India for Rs1.5 lakh while the drug eluting stents were sold between Rs45,000 and Rs1 lakh.mumbai Updated: Feb 19, 2017 00:24 IST
Amid fears that the sole manufacturers of Bioabsorbable Vascular Scaffolds (BVS) stents may withdraw the product from the market, doctors stand divided on whether its withdrawal could actually deprive patients of the latest range of stents or not.
Biodegradable stents are the latest in its range that was introduced in India three years ago. It is made up of a material that breaks down in the artery and is eventually absorbed by the body.
On Monday, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) slashed prices of BVS stents along with drug eluting stents by nearly 75%.
Before this move, BVS was being sold in India for Rs1.5 lakh while the drug eluting stents were sold between Rs45,000 and Rs1 lakh.
Dr CK Ponde, consultant cardiologist from PD Hinduja in Mahim said that no clinical study has established the superiority of BVS over the third and fourth generation of drug eluting stents (DES).
“We have not used BVS for a single patient at our hospital. In fact, patients come asking for it and we have a hard time convincing them that they are not superior than other stents,” he said.
Dr Ponde added that there are no studies to even show the difference in clinical outcome between using the third and the fourth generation DES. “They differ from one another just in the strut thickness and ease of use,” he said.
However, Dr Mathew Samuel Kalarickal, who is considered the father of cardiology in India, said that the withdrawal of BVS would mean that a subset of patients may suffer. “I would say, out of 100 patients, 10 to 15 patients would be eligible for bioabsorable stents. In its absence, we will have to make do with make shift arrangements,” he said.
He added that the government’s move will turn the clock back by 20 years, in the field of angioplasty. “According to the NPPA, the Indian stents are at par with FDA-approved stents. Show me one study which proves it,” he said.
A senior city-based cardiologist, who did not want to be named, said that NPPA’s decision will put a gradual end to the introduction of new stent technology in India. He said, “I agree that BVS has no superiority over other stents but it is a new technology. The companies will charge high prices for them initially to recover the costs.” He added, “If the prices are capped, why will such companies introduce any advanced technology in the country?”