NPPA says cap on knee implant prices to end profiteering

 Joe C Mathew   New Delhi     Last Updated: August 18, 2017  | 22:04 IST
NPPA says cap on knee implant prices to end profiteering

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) chairman Bhupendra Singh has said that the authority's recent decision to slash the prices knee implants and cardiac stents should not be seen as an attempt to regulate prices of medical devices across the spectrum. It was only meant to end the profiteering profiteering by the healthcare establishments, he clarified.

Addressing the 11th edition of FICCI HEAL health conference in Delhi on 18th August, Singh said that the authority has details of the price patterns in the drugs sector. "Out of the 93,000 formulation drugs manufactured in the country, almost 80 percent are sold in a profit range of 40 - 50 percent to the trade. We consider it as reasonable", he said. According to him the remaining 20 percent drugs are sold at a margin that ranges between 100 percent to 1,100 percent, which he felt was akin to profiteering.

Singh said that a similar exercise to identify the price patterns prevailing in medical device sector is underway. Without identifying the company or the brand, Singh said that one of the implants - on which the government has fixed a ceiling price - was imported at a cost of Rs 1,90000, sold to distributors for Rs 2,43,000, which in turn gets sold to hospitals for Rs 3,00,000 a piece. This price which the hospital used to charge for this device used to be Rs 9,00,000 before the price control, he explained.

"No government will allow such a situation. In fact the government is not acting in a haphazard manner. Even the decision to control the price of cardiac stents were taken after giving six months time to the medical device industry to suo moto cut the prices", Singh pointed out.    

According to Singh, Narendra Modi government has prioritized healthcare more than any other previous governments at the Centre. "This government has started thinking of health as a priority sector. As a result of the various initiatives, every Parliament session is see 50 - 60 queries on health coming from the members, he said.

Emphasising the merits of the National Health Policy, Singh said that the government has opened up public sector healthcare facilities to the private sector to operate and make money. "We are not having a fragmented picture. What you are seeing are not isolated developments. It is all done with a purpose, and private sector has a great role to play", he said.

Singh's comments came in the backdrop of widespread complaints from the private healthcare providers about the healthcare policies and programmes of the government.

ALSO READ: Medical device makers complains against national drug regulator's price cap on knee implants

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