Knee implant prices capped, to cost 65% less

After cardiac stents the government now caps prices of knee implants

The price range fixed by the government is between Rs 54,000 and Rs 76,000, about 65 per cent lower than the prevailing rate at hospitals.

"Lakhs of patients are not able to pay for arthroplasty procedures because of these exorbitant prices and suffering in pain; and whereas the estimates of such patients requiring arthroplasty intervention, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, is about 1.5 to 2 crores", it said. After a Union Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers Ananth kumar told the media that as per the data analysis of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), there was unreachably high margin in pricing of implants which made it a case unethical "profiteering".

Cancer patients needing an implant have been provided major relief, with costs for specialised implants slashed to Rs 1,13,950 from the current over Rs 5 lakh and above.

This move comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the nation of bringing down the prices of knee surgery on the occasion of India's 71st Independence Day.

It is estimated by World Health Organization (WHO) that by 2020, osteoarthritis is going to be the fourth largest cause of immobility in globally, Kumar informed.

The Indian Express had reported on July 31 that the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had asked the government to consider including orthopaedic implants, alongside heart valves and intra ocular (eye) lenses, in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) to bring these products under the purview of price caps.

It was also mentioned that the ceiling prices specified in the order, though exclusive of GST, are inclusive of trade margin, and no additional charge to the patient.

"Under present extraordinary circumstances of a failed and exploitative market because of information asymmetry between the patient and healthcare delivery system, (NPPA) has decided that it is necessary to control the excessive trade margins for fixing ceiling price of orthopedic knee implants which is fair and reasonable based on its intrinsic value of the implants with rational margins to protect public interest", said NPPA in its notification issued under its chairman Bhupendra Singh. "After cardiac stents, we have now made a decision to bring all kinds of knee implants under price control". In consultations with NPPA, importers and manufacturers justified higher prices saying they needed the higher margins to enable payment to distributors and hospitals (including doctors) in the existing business model. The new ceiling price for Titanium and Oxidised Zirconium implants is 69% lesser than its earlier average MRP.

"As the public is aware, prices remain too high for devices across the board". The MRP price of a knee implant are jacked up exorbitantly for the patient.

Reacting to the development, medical device industry body MTaI said MTaI is reviewing the order from NPPA.

Earlier, the average maximum retail price (MRP) for BMS was Rs 45,000 and for DES, it was Rs 1.21 lakh.

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