Association of Indian Medical Device Industry, which represents domestic manufacturers, has welcomed the government proposal to extend price caps to devices including catheters and balloons which are used in angioplasties. A government panel has recommended inclusion of these devices under price control following complaints of large scale overcharging by hospitals. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority requested the government to classify balloons and catheters as drugs and include them under the National List of Essential Medicines. The government had in February capped the price of stents by around 85 per cent. The move resulted in increased sales for domestic manufacturers which are supporting more such actions. A decision to extend price cap on other devices is expected to hurt hospitals and impact their margins.
Though some large chains believe price caps could have a short term impact given their service diversification, there is displeasure in the private healthcare service providers over the government action. It is also feared that displeasure among hospitals as withdrawal of top end stents from market leading to loss of foreign patients coming to India for treatment.“ Pressure has increased on India to revise its stance on price caps for medical devices and not to extend it to other devices but the government should do what is good for the country and give advantage mainly to common citizens who now have access to the best products at the most affordable prices and to domestic manufacturers,” said Rajiv Nath, forum co-ordinator, AiMeD. “In the last six months we have seen a positive trend towards increased sales for domestic manufacturers. We estimate the trend to continue and Indian manufacturers will grab 60 per cent of market share by next year,” Nath said. Earlier this year the Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration had examined invoices in 12 major hospitals in the state and found that over 70 per cent of the cost paid for balloon catheters by patients is profit margin of manufacturers, distributors and hospitals. In case of guiding catheters more than 47 per cent of the cost paid by patients was found to be profit margin of these three stakeholders.