After all the complaints of overpricing of medical devices like
cardiac stents and implants, the government has finally come up
with separate price control regime for medical devices. The new
draft National Medical Device Policy-2015, issued recently by the
Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) mandates a separate price
control for medical devices. As per the new draft policy, the
medical devices will be included as separate entry in the list of
commodities controlled under the Essential Commodities Act. The
government will announce a separate policy enunciating the
principles for regulating the prices of identified medical devices
and implement the same by notifying a separate Medical Devices
Prices Control Order (MDPCO). Under the new draft policy, a
separate division will be created in National Pharmaceuticals
Pricing Authority (NPPA) for pricing of the devices by suitably
amending the resolution constituting NPPA. At present, prices of
medicines are notified through the Drug Prices Control Order, by
the department of pharmaceuticals. The draft policy, which has been
put up on the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) website and
communicated to industry bodies and chambers, seeks comments within
six weeks, after which a final note will be prepared for Cabinet
PSA View – In India, doctors, hospitals
and retailers have been making a lot of money by prescribing
expensive stents or branded medicines to vulnerable patients. A
stent with an ex-factory cost of Rs 30,000 is sold at Rs 40,000 or
Rs 45,000 by a distributor to a hospital or doctor, after including
marketing and supply chain margins. However, the patient pays
around Rs 1,00,000 for the same stent to the hospital. Medical
devices are covered under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act but there is
no law governing their prices. The health care sector is also
perceived to lack enough checks and balances against corruption and
malpractices by doctors, retailers and distributors. Sources in
various government departments say private hospitals often bribe
individual practitioners to refer patients for knee transplants,
heart surgeries, etc. With New Policy, we hope the menace is
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