The central drug regulator has asked the Centre to consider including heart valves, orthopaedic implants and intra ocular (eye) lenses in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) to bring these products under the purview of price caps, according to Indian Express report. It has been learned that the move will benefit the common people. This comes five months after the Narendra Modi government had in February 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.
In a letter to Union Health Ministry, G N Singh, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), said it was a request for reducing the prices of surgical implants. Once a drug or medical device is included in NLEM, its price can be capped by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which comes under Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP). The DOP is run by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. According to IE reports, the ministry is considering the suggestion and a decision would be taken soon.
As per the February decision, the maximum retail price of bare metal stents (BMS) and drug eluting stents (DES) would be Rs 7,623 and Rs 31,080, respectively, inclusive of VAT and other local taxes. 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, according to PTI report. 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 report said.