Good news..Stents will cost less, Govt cracks the whip on companies

New Delhi: Drug price regulator NPPA has warned coronary stent manufacturing firms of strict action if they are found giving freebies on sale of the medical device.

Instances have come to the notice of NPPA that few companies dealing with coronary stents have come up with freebies by announcing schemes such as buy ten and get three free, the national drug price regulator said in a notification. 

It was also found that few companies sell the lower priced stent at higher cost leading to over 8 per cent trade margins, it added.

"Such cases are being examined and strict action will be taken as per law," the national drug price regulator said. This move is part of the government's measure to ensure availability of affordable cardiac stents in the country.

Earlier, this month the NPPA started issuing recovery and pre-prosecution notices to hospitals for non-compliance with its guidelines on stents pricing. The regulator also directed hospitals to follow all instructions issued so far by it with regard to pricing of coronary stents.

Between February 14 to March 15 this year, the NPPA has found violations in 40 health institutions. All manufactures/importers/marketers of coronary stents and all hospitals are once again directed to follow all instructions of NPPA which have been issued so far, with regard to the price fixation of coronary stents, NPPA said.

"Non compliance of these instructions shall be taken up for prosecution under relevant provisions of Essential Commodities Act," it added. 

In February, the NPPA had brought stents under price control and capped ceiling price of coronary stents at Rs 7,260 for bare metal variety and Rs 29,600 for drug-eluting ones.

The corresponding average MRPs before the price control stood at Rs 45,100 and Rs 1.21 lakh, respectively. Last month, the drug price regulator increased price of stents by around 2 per cent after taking into account wholesale price index.