Updated to include comment from the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry.
Indian regulators are capping prices of orthopedic knee implants as the country looks to lower the cost of medical devices.
The country’s drug pricing authority said today that orthopedic implants in the country had unjustified, unreasonable and irrationally high trade margins, which led to exorbitant pricing.
Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar said the prices had been capped “in public interest” during a new briefing today. With the change, Kumar said that commonly used cobalt chromium knee implants, previously priced up to $3,895 (INR ₹250,000), would be capped at $852 (INR ₹54,720).
Kumar went on to say that the country would not allow “illegal profiteering, unethical profiteering.”
The Association of Indian Medical Device Industry, which represents Indian manufacturers, said it supported the government’s move.
Forum coordinator Rajiv Nath said that some of the 6 Indian knee implant manufacturers found the prices “perfect and reasonable”, and that the caps would help patients.
The Medical Technology Association of India, which includes several foreign companies such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) among its members, said in a statement that it was reviewing the order and may offer suggestions for its implementation later.
The move is the most recent step from the Indian government to reduce the cost of drugs and medical devices in the country.
In February, India capped the price of coronary stents, cutting prices by as much as 75%, resulting in backlash from major medical device manufacturers including Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and Abbott (NYSE:ABT).
Both Abbott and Medtronic claimed the caps would cause innovation to stagnate in the country and limit its access to new technologies and threatened to exit the country’s market with their devices.
The Indian NPPA rejected applications from both companies to withdraw stents from the country and asked both to continue supplying the devices.
In June, India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority said it would seek to cap even more devices, including balloon and cardiac catheters, covered stents and peripheral stents.
If the government there approves the caps, they would join bare-metal, drug-eluting and bioresorbable stents, which were added to the NPPA’s “essential medicine”” list in February.
($1 = 64.1850 Indian rupees)
Material from Reuters was used in this report.