In order to ensure consistent availability of cardiac stents at prices stipulated as per the government price fixation notification, Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) guidelines to hospitals for strict compliance and to prevent overcharging at the point of care.
NPPA in a recent letter to the Maharashtra FDA has clearly spelt out the guidelines to ensure better oversight, transparency in compliance and proper billing of the angioplasty procedure at the point of care.
Says Maharashtra FDA Commissioner Pallavi Darade, “In order to pass on the benefit of ceiling price fixation of coronary stents, NPPA guidelines says that price of the coronary stent has to be separately specified in the hospital bill among other major things like type of stent, brand name of stent, name of the manufacturer or importer, batch number, expiry date so that patients are not fleeced.”
She further adds, “The hospital should display price list of the coronary stent in a conspicuous manner in its premises so that notified price is duly implemented and also the hospital’s website should clearly display the price list so that benefit of low cost stent is passed on to the customer.”
On February 14, NPPA announced cut in prices of coronary stents by up to 85% by capping them at Rs.7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs.29,600 for drug eluting variety.
Following issuance of guidelines, Maharashtra FDA is going to audit hospitals as part of its larger plan to detect overpricing of stents in government and private hospitals.
The step was taken to fix a standardised specification of stent and its MRP to stop fleecing of patients. NPPA had written to all the chief secretaries to ensure compliance of stents price capping, its availability and uninterrupted cardiac care services. The government brought in important reforms such as the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) in 2011 and also issued the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) in 2013.
Government after a series of meetings with the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) and cardiologists in 2015 came out with the conclusion that all cardiac stents are of the same quality and accordingly capped the price as per Schedule 1 of Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) after incorporating in the national list of essential medicines.
Following which Advocate Birender Sangwan’s PIL led to slashing of prices of cardiac stents this year in February. This was a huge relief for many cardiac patients across the country as the ceiling price of bare metal stents was brought down to Rs.7,260 from Rs.45,000; and that of drug eluting stents were fixed at Rs.29,600 from about a whopping Rs.1.2 lakh.