Heart Stents Selling in India at upto 1000% margin
In spite the regulation by the government to cap heart stent prices, uncertainty looms on the final cost of the stents paid by the patients.
As per the data released by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), watchdog for drugs price in India, the highest margin in the stent price is at the hospital level. It ranges from 11%-654%. This shows though not all hospitals are taking high profits but there exist a huge gap in the original price to the hospital and the cost of the stent borne by the patient.
The stents supply chain includes the manufacturer, distributor, dealer, hospitals and finally the patient. The report reveals the profit margins on stents range from 270% to 1,000% in the supply chain.
With the growing cases of coronary artery disease, hypertension, and blood vessels blockage, there is a steep rise in the number of cases in which stenting is necessary for treatment. In 2015 alone, India witnessed about 5 lakh stent implants, the figures which are expected to grow according to the experts.
The government should ensure to bring down the cost of the stent for the patient without compromising on the quality of the procedure. Recently, it brought both drug eluting stents and bare metal stents under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), a step which is expected to reduce the stent cost. But it is not enough to bring down the benefits to the patient.
Indian stent industry is mostly import-driven which adds to the overall procedure costs. The government should promote less dependency on the imported stents. Also, a ceiling price above which is not paid by the patient should be made mandatory.
At present, the stent cost to the patients in private hospitals is approximately in between INR40,000 – 1.5 lakh for bare metals while a drug eluting stent is in the range of INR 80,000 – 2 lakh.
(Update: The Govt has already brought legislation and capped stent pricing)