Central government says there is no need to relabel stents with new price tags
After many pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn stents from hospitals to relabel them with revised tags following the cap on prices, the government on Thursday said that relabelling was not requiredUpdated: Feb 18, 2017 01:02 IST
After many pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn stents from hospitals to relabel them with revised tags following the cap on prices, the government on Thursday said that relabelling was not required.
On Thursday, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which on Monday put a cap on stent prices, categorically stated that stent manufacturers may email the revised prices to retailers and dealers. Once this was done, relabelling the stents was not mandatory.
On Monday, NPPA put a cap on the prices of bare metal stents - the basic category - at Rs 7,260 and that of more advanced drug-eluting and bioresorbable stents at Rs 29,600. The authority made the move as patients often ended up paying 700% more than the manufacturing cost.
Doctors had said that the withdrawal of stents by the manufacturers had forced them to reschedule angioplasties. Relatively cheaper ‘first and second generation’ stents were available at hospitals, but were not used in all cases. Doctors said that the latest drug eluting stents - which releases measured medication into the artery - may not be ‘better’ than the older versions in terms of outcome and also, doctors find them easier to use.
Doctors are also worried that manufacturers may completely withdraw the latest stents from the Indian market as a reaction to the price capping. Dr Hashmukh Ravat, cardiologist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, said that all the latest ‘drug eluting stents’ are not available. “Companies have taken the stents back to relabel them. I am not sure if we will get them back.” he said. He added that it is mainly the international brands that have taken the stents back for relabelling.
However, a senior doctor from Bombay Hospital, Marine lines, who acknowledged that the price capping was a good move, said that the shortage of stents will not last for long. “Most of these manufacturing companies have their offices in Mumbai. They will relabel the prices and return the stents in a couple of days,” he said.
While price capping is expected to bring down the cost of angioplasty with hospitals issuing revised angioplasty packages, some doctors fear patients may end up paying more on the final hospital bill.
“The hospitals are out to make profits. If they don’t make profits on stent prices, they will increase the cost of consultation and hospitalisation,” said a doctor from a hospital in Andheri.
Dr Arun Gadre of Jan Swasthya Abhyan, supported the capping of prices. “Why are only doctors from private hospitals crying about re capping of prices? Bioabsorbable stents, which have been taken by the companies, are not superior in any way. So how can doctors say that patients are missing out on quality,” he said.