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India's drug price regulator wants 4 more devices to be included in price control list: Report

Medical devices industry had objected to the decision saying the move will affect innovation and hamper investment. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Delhi, India Jun 07, 2017, 06.28 AM (IST)

The drug-pricing regulator, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), asked the health ministry to add four more medical devices to a list of equipment for price control in order to bring their prices down, Reuters reported.

On February 14, the medical regulator had capped the prices of coronary stents used in cardiac surgery. The move provided a huge relief to those who have to undergo cardiac surgery.

The union health ministry had included the coronary stents under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).

Drugs and medical equipment which are included in the list have to be sold at the prices decided by the NPPA.

The NPPA had said that it did not plan any further measures but in a letter sent to the union health ministry seen by Reuters, NPPA Chairman Bhupendra Singh said the essential medicines list should also include balloons, cardiac catheters, and covered as well as peripheral stents, "as soon as possible", Reuters reported.

According to Singh, hospitals charged more for these devices, which are used in heart surgeries, in order to compensate for lower stent prices. 

"It has been found that after the price control of cardiac stents several hospitals have increased the various 'procedure charges' in order to compensate for their losses," Singh said in the letter, without elaborating on how the discovery was made.

"In some cases the cost of balloons and catheters have been charged at (a) much higher level than the cost of (the) stent itself," he wrote.

After the February decision to include coronary stents in the price control list, Medtronic and Abbott Laboratories tried to withdraw their stents but the proposal was rejected.

Boston Scientific Corp asked for a revision of price cap but that request was turned down by a government panel, Reuters said.

Medical devices industry had objected to the decision saying the move will affect innovation and hamper investment.

(WION with inputs from Reuters) 

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