Indian healthcare regulators reportedly reversed course and are now asking for a quartet of medical devices to be added to a list of products under price control.
India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority wants its list of price-capped products updated to include balloon and cardiac catheters, covered stents and peripheral stents, Reuters reported. If the government there approves, they would join bare-metal, drug-eluting and bioresorbable stents, which were added to the NPPA’s “essential medicines” list in February. That move cut their price by as much as 75%.
After the caps went into effect, the NPPA rejected applications from Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and Abbott (NYSE:ABT) to withdraw coronary stents from the region; Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) asked the NPPA to raise the cap but was denied. The NPPA asked the companies to maintain 6-month supplies of the products, saying it didn’t plan to add any more medical devices to the list.
In a previously unpublished March letter to the Indian health ministry, NPPA chairman Bhupendra Singh asked that the 4 new device categories be added to the essential medicines list “as soon as possible.”
Hospitals in India are making up for the lower stent pricing by raising prices on other procedures and devices, Singh wrote.
“In some cases the cost of balloons and catheters have been charged at [a] much higher level than the cost of [the] stent itself,” he wrote. “I would request you to kindly consider on this issue and take necessary actions so that government’s intention of passing on the benefit to the poor is not frustrated by the hospitals/doctors.”
An anonymous health ministry official confirmed the request to Reuters, but said that the list of essential medicines was unlikely to be reviewed in the next few years. Singh’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment, according to the news service.