Stents Prices Reduced, but Are the Patients Getting Real Benefit?

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Despite the fact that the Government has fixed the minimum and the maximum prices of Cardiac Stents, there come no changes in the huge bills of angioplasty as the cost of angioplasty more or less remains the same. It has been revealed from the examination of bills of various hospitals that the patients are not actually benefited from the reduced stents prices as the hospitals have been increasing the prices of other medical devices used in angioplasty like catheters, balloons and guide wires etc. and services to mitigate the reduced revenue due to capping of stent price.

In February, 2017 India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) issued an order to fix the selling prices of Cardiac stents at Rs.30000 and order stated that the prices would be reviewed next year.  Some Government and Charitable Hospitals have passed on benefits to the patients in anticipation of the review. However, as there was no regulation or advisory regarding the charges of the other medical devices used in angioplasty, some private hospitals have charged exorbitant rates for those devices to equalize or setoff the lost margins on the stents. Despite such hikes in prices of other medical devices, there comes around a 20% reduction in the cost of angioplasty after reduce of stent prices by 85%.

The costs of angioplasty excluding stent costs stood in between Rs.90000- to Rs.1 Lakh approximately before the price capping. But after price capping, it becomes higher as now it ranges from Rs.1.2 lakh to Rs.1.6 lakh or more. This jump in cost of angioplasty has come due to hike in cost of other consumables or doctor charges or other relating service charges of angioplasty.

The hike in prices of other medical devices or procedure charge is really shocking as it comes with no actual difference of hospital bills of patients even after capping of stents charges.

The IMS Health said in its report titled ‘Medical Devices in India—Accessibility, Quality and Pricing’ that “it seems like the benefits of decreased price are getting passed from manufacturers to distributors and from distributors to hospitals, but the benefits are not entirely getting passed from hospitals to patients.”

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