The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has already intimated the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for putting a mechanism in place to keep a tab on cardiac surgeries using stents.
“I am in talks with MoHFW to keep a check on cardiac procedures in hospitals. Due to the prices of stents being slashed, private hospitals may try to increase the price of procedures, doctors’ fees and prolong a patient’s stay to make up for losses,” Ananth kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, said.
“We want to ensure that the price reduction is passed on to patients. We have directed the authorities that prices of all stocked stents will have to be revised according to the new ceiling price,” he said.
The ministry has also appealed to patients and their attendants to complain about any unfair practice during treatment.
“We have launched two mobile apps, Pharma Jan Samadhan and Pharma Sahi Daam, where aggrieved patients can register complaints and the ministry would act swiftly to resolve it,” said Kumar.
“As there are several cardiac procedures done in the country, it is important that hospitals abide by the new prices. In case of serious violations of the ceiling prices, NPPA has the authority to recover the overcharged amount along with a 15 per cent interest,” he said.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a major cause of death in India, accounting for about 25 per cent of the total deaths. Out of these, 90-95 per cent of CVD deaths happen due to coronary artery diseases. As per the report of the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, prevalence of CVD in India is about 61.5 million as per a 2015 report. As per a Union Health Ministry report, more than 3.5 lakh procedures were done in 2015, which involved the use of 4.73 lakh stents.
Now the ceiling price of bare metal stents (BMS), which have 10-per cent market share, has been capped at Rs 7,260 and drug eluting stents (DES), which has a 90 per cent market share, at Rs 29,600. These prices are exclusive of VAT and other local taxes. Since most of the states have 5 per cent VAT on stents, the MRP of BMS and DES would be Rs 7,623 and Rs 31,080.
The Centre is looking at the step as a major action on the unethical margins charged at each stage in the supply chain of coronary stents.
The average MRP in the market for BMS was Rs 45,000, and Rs 1,21,000 for DES.
This has been reduced to Rs 7,623 for BMS and Rs 31,080 for DES. Thus, based on the price reduction, patients will get average benefit of Rs 80-90,000 per stent, resulting in a gross relief of Rs 4,450 crore in one year.