New Delhi: India has told the United States it won’t abstain from capping prices for more medical devices, regardless of pressure to rethink its stance after price controls on heart stents and knee implants spoilt the market for some U.S. firms, sources familiar with the matter said.
India’s drug pricing authority is also pushing to bring three more devices used while treating heart ailments under the ambit of price controls as they are sometimes more expensive than the stent itself. India’s $5 billion medical device market has provided rich fishing grounds for U.S.-based companies like Abbott Laboratories and Boston Scientific Corp.
In September, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office and Trade Minister Suresh Prabhu urging them “to not expand price controls to additional medical devices. During a meeting last month, Indian officials told USTR Assistant Trade Representative Mark Linscott that India had decided against making any such commitment, a trade ministry official told . “This position will not change, it is within the right of the government of India (to impose price caps),” said the official, who declined to be named.
Equating high trade margins on some medical devices with “illegal profiteering”, the government last year capped prices of some high-end heart stents – small wire-mesh structures used to treat blocked arteries – at around $450, compared to $3,000 charged earlier. And India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has been pushing for more price controls.
The regulator wrote to the health ministry on Feb. 26, asking for three other devices used to treat heart ailments – cardiac balloons, catheters, and guide-wire – to be added to a list of products eligible for price controls.The NPPA also said intraocular lenses, which are used during eye surgery, should be brought under the list.