In a major relief to lakhs of cardiac patients, the government on Tuesday cut prices of life-saving coronary stents by up to 85 per cent by capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for drug eluting variety.
The maximum retail price of bare metal stents (BMS) and drug eluting stents (DES) will be Rs 7,623 and Rs 31,080, respectively, inclusive of VAT and other local taxes. The new prices are applicable with immediate effect, Chemical and Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said while announcing the decision.
Earlier, the average maximum retail price (MRP) for BMS was Rs 45,000 and for DES, it was Rs 1.21 lakh. The government has asked the companies to change the MRP of the existing stock.
A coronary stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It keeps the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart diseases.
The minister said the capping of the stent price will result in saving of Rs 80,000-90,000 per piece and gross relief of Rs 4,450 crore in a year for cardiac patients.
The companies will have to revise the price of the existing stock being sold in the market, he said, adding that stringent action will be taken against hospitals and suppliers for overcharging.
The health ministry has been told to take steps to curb unethical practices by hospitals such as charging more from patients for procedure, treatment and post-care, to recover their losses due to reduction in stent prices, he noted.
The government had included coronary stents in the national list of essential medicines (NLEM), 2015, in July 2016 and in the first Schedule of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 2013, in December 2016.