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NPPA slashed the prices of coronary stents by over 80%  in February this year. Photo: Reuters
NPPA slashed the prices of coronary stents by over 80% in February this year. Photo: Reuters

No revision in stent prices till February, says National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority

Drug price regulator will revisit the prices of coronary stents in February 2018 taking into account all the issues, says National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority

New Delhi: Stent manufacturers seeking a revision in prices of coronary stents will have to wait until February 2018, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) said on Friday.

“NPPA will revisit the prices of coronary stents in February 2018 taking into account all the issues," the drug price regulator tweeted, clarifying that there would be no “mid-term" revision of prices before February next year.

NPPA slashed the prices of coronary stents by over 80% in February this year. “The order is effective for one year and has to be revisited thereafter. Even the order of slashing prices for knee implants is for a year and will be revisited after the stipulated period," an NPPA official said on condition of anonymity.

Stent makers have been engaging with the government since the price caps were announced. The manufacturers approached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) recently, seeking exemption from price caps on their high-end stents.

“Citing commercial unsustainability, the manufacturers are of the view that slashed prices are not competitive for them to sell their products in India. The manufacturers have also stated that the dealer price or the landed cost, which is the company’s cost of manufacturing the stent in the country of origin, is higher than the selling cost, therefore the decision of price capping must be revisited," added the official cited earlier.

Officials from the PMO have met officials from the health ministry and department of pharmaceuticals (DoP), under the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers, to seek suggestions on the representation of the stent makers.

However, on Friday, NPPA made it clear that there will be no mid-term revision of prices before one year.

Stents are small wire-mesh structures used to treat blocked arteries. The price of drug eluting or drug-coated stents were slashed by NPPA to about Rs30,000 from as much as Rs2 lakh. The move, preceded by several rounds of talks with the firms, upset manufacturers who said the new prices would discourage research and development.

Abbott Laboratories, one of the biggest makers of coronary stents, recently halted global sales of its fully absorbable stent—Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold (BVS)—citing low “commercial sales". Absorb stents were priced at Rs1.9 lakh each before the price cap. Likewise, another Abbott stent, Xience Alpine, introduced in 2016, was priced at Rs1.5 lakh apiece till 14 February, when NPPA slashed stent prices. Additionally, Meril Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd—manufacturer of indigenous BVS stents—has halted new stent launches.

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