While the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) revised the ceiling price on coronary stents on Monday, its Chairman Bhupendra Singh stated on Friday that that the price control is not the best option to achieve affordability.
“If you ask me, I don’t consider that price control is the best option to achieve affordability. For me, in my scheme of things, price control is the last (option),” Singh stated at the ‘India Pharma 2018’ exhibition in Bengaluru on Friday. On Monday, the NPPA stated that the revised ceiling prices of the drug eluting stents (DES) and bare metal stents (BMS) would be Rs 27, 890 and Rs 7,660, respectively.
Singh added: “There is no country in the world who would say that I don’t care a damn about people, and health is not my mandate. Health is fundamental, almost a fundamental right … And that is where the role is of insurance protection, the role of government procurement, the role of price control, the role of government in directly running healthcare facilities — all the options have to be exercised. In a country like India, we have to go for all the possible options.”
On Monday, the price regulator refused to provide separate sub-category and higher ceiling price for latest-generation biodegradable stents, as requested by multinational medical device companies. However, Singh stated on Friday: “Indian pricing regime, at present, is the most liberal pricing regime and the best for industry that it can be. There may be some spheres where the industry suffers, but most of the time it is a bonanza for the industry.”
In the government’s Budget announcement of National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) for poor, he stated: “The limit of Rs 5 lakh (insurance) does not mean that industry think that there is no need for price control. Hospital might say, we don’t need to standardise, we don’t need to come with standard packages and all — there is money there (in NHPS) and you go and take it. It is not going to be like that.”