Post Price Cap: NPPA warns of artificial shortage of coronary stents

The NPPA on Monday capped the prices of coronary stents to provide relief to cardiac patients. A stent is a tiny expandable metal scaffold to open up narrowed or blocked arteries.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: February 17, 2017 2:14 am

After announcing the price cap on stents three days ago, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on Thursday stated that some companies are now trying to create artificial shortage of stents in market and state drug controllers should use their search and seizure powers — provided under Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013 — to deal with it.

“It has also been informed to the NPPA that some manufacturers /importers/distributors are trying to create artificial shortage of stents. NPPA has advised all state governments and state drug controllers to proceed under Para 30 of the DPCO, 2013, if required,” the pricing regulator noted on Thursday in one of its office memorandum. Under Para 30 of the DPCO 2013, any designated officer of the government — state or the Centre — can enter any premises and search or seize stents anywhere in the trade channel in order to fully implement the NPPA’s order.

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The NPPA on Monday capped the prices of coronary stents to provide relief to cardiac patients. A stent is a tiny expandable metal scaffold to open up narrowed or blocked arteries. The ceiling price of bare metal stents has been fixed at Rs7,260 per piece and that of drug-eluting stents and biodegradable stents has been fixed at Rs 29,600 per piece.

Meanwhile, the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP), which has also received some reports about shortage of coronary stents in hospitals, wrote separate letters on Thursday to the health secretary, NPPA chairman and the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). The NPPA works under the DoP.

In its letter to the NPPA chairman, the DoP noted that it might take necessary action under Paragraph 21 of DPCO 2013 to “ensure adequate availability of coronary stents at the earliest”. If any stent manufacturer intends to discontinue any scheduled formulation from the market, Paragraph 21 of the DPCO 2013 states that it has to issue a public notice and also intimate the regulator at least six months before.

The NPPA on Thursday tweeted that it has written to all chief secretaries of the states to ensure “compliance of stents price capping, its availability and uninterrupted cardiac care services”. Moreover, the regulator has also asked the stent manufacturers to provide a report on “price revision compliance along with evidence” by March 1.

“The manufacturers recalling or re-labelling or re-stickering on the label of container or pack of released stocks in the market prior to date of notification (February 13, 2017), shall ensure that adequate stocks are maintained to avoid shortage of such coronary stents. However, it does not mean that revised prices get deferred for the stock in circulation. The price change takes place with immediate effect,” the NPPA stated.

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  1. Golden Arrow
    Feb 18, 2017 at 1:32 am
    Didn't NPPA foresee this while trying to cap prices. If they didn't, it shows how foolish they are. Prices cannot be brought through administrative orders but increasing compeion. Unfortunately our rulers refuse to understand economics.
    1. R
      Feb 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm
      If you had paid attention to economics in your school days, you would have known, that artificially controlling the price of an item, makes things worse. There is excess and unnecessary consumption than if the free markets had determined the price. The companies who spend years and millions on research and innovation, lose the incentive to improve products or create new ones. The companies making such products stop making them as there is no profit for;br/gt;It boils down to simple supply and demand. India has had price control in place for many decades, it is only after there was some loosening of the price control that we started seeing improvement in the economy. lt;br/gt;Don't repeat the rants of politicos, think before you speak.
      1. V
        Feb 17, 2017 at 11:08 am
        Such a threat of shortage clearly shows how politicians and doctors were making money by cheating the patients .Why they don't make cheap medicines and stents available to the poor of India at an affordable price .Shame on this profession which has given up its noble cause of service to society and they have forgotten the pledge that they make at the time of ping out .