India Regulator to Review Stent Price Controls

In July 2016, the Government of India decided to cap the prices of drug-eluting and bare-metal stents, and in February 2017, the ceiling price of bare metal stents was set at $108, while the price of drug-eluting stents was set at $442 before taxes, which for some products was a reduction in price of as much as  75%.

Some  U.S. companies, including Abbott and Medtronic, sought to stop selling some of their stents in India’s market, but were told that they must continue to sell.

India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority said it imposed the price controls after hearing from officials who claimed large multinational stent companies charge widely varying prices for devices that produce the same results. The authority said none of the importers could provide scientific evidence that their newer and more expensive stents work better than previous versions. Economic data gathered on stents in India showed the markups on imported stents “were exorbitant and irrational, indicating  ‘profiteering’ at every level and mostly at the level of hospitals,” the authority’s minutes. “

Howver, a study conducted for Washington-based med-tech trade group AdvaMed found that this price cut has not led to “significant increase in total number of angioplasties performed per month; across different hospital segments or the corresponding decrease in angioplasty costs for patients paying out of pocket expense.”

Abby Pratt, Advamed’s vice president of global strategy and analysis , said research shows that local hospitals and distributors are responsible for the high cost, not the stent importers. “The question is, what can the government do to step in and bring about greater transparency and greater efficiency in the supply chain, and tackle probably some of the corruption that exists in the supply chain? Singular focus on controlling price of devices without attempting to address the larger picture will not improve patient access. We need to consider alternatives to price control such as trade margin rationalization and more scientific approaches that facilitate differential pricing for innovative medical technologies.”

The stent price cut decision comes up for its annual review this month.

Sahajanand Medical Technologies Stent

Sahajanand Medical Technologies Stent

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Posted on by Gunjan Bagla
Gunjan Bagla
California-based management consultant Gunjan Bagla runs Amritt, a consulting firm helping American companies to succeed in India. Amritt is the trusted advisor for India market research, India business development, India market entry, Global Engineering, Global Technology Scouting, India R&D and Open Innovation. Gunjan is author of "Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today from Tomorrow’s Most Exciting Market" (Hachette Book Group, 2008), Amazon's top rated title on the subject. He has appeared as the India Expert on BBC Television, Bloomberg TV, Fox Cable Business and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter and Business Week for his expertise on India.

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