KOCHI: Sangh Parivar think tank Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has asked the petitions committee of the Rajya Sabha rein in the exorbitant pricing of cardiac stents. A letter Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, sent this month to the chairman of the panel Prabhat Jha points out that Rs 7600 crore is spent on angioplasties of which stents take the largest chunk. The letter said that high prices of medical devices like cardiac stents keep life-saving procedures like angioplasties outside the reach of the majority of patients.
“We would like to bring to your notice the circular from the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) sharing the preliminary price calculations using different formulas for bare-metal and drug-eluting stents. Since drug-eluting stents are predominantly used in over 80% of angioplasties, price fixation is most urgent for this category of stents,” the letter says. “According to the data put out by the NPPA, a ceiling price for drug-eluting stents based on the average of prices to hospitals is Rs 67,272. This is in contrast to the ceiling price based on the average landed price with a 35% markup, which is only Rs 21,881.
Based on limited data available with the NPPA, an estimate of the ceiling price arising from the cost of production plus a 35% markup is Rs 10,699. These data show that the markup, on average, from the level of the manufacturer to the level of the hospital is more than 250% and is revealing of the outrageous overpricing and exploitation in the marketing of drug-eluting stents,” the letter added. The SJM has requested the chairman of the panel to direct the department of pharmaceuticals and the NPPA not to implement any methodology involving the price-to-hospital and to make use of an alternative method to reach a ceiling price that truly ensures affordability and puts an end to exploitation.