The Indian government has taken capped the prices for knee implants to Rs 54,720 ( US $ 858 ) which was earlier Rs1,13,950 ( US $ 1770 ) exclusive of the taxes. The price cap has been done in a preview of knee implants being an essential medicine lists. Earlier, Indian government has capped the prices of the stent, which is essential for heart surgery.
As part of the initiative, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the prices of widely used Chromium cobalt knee implants. This step will also put a hold on illegal and unethical profiteering. Along with price cap, the government will take stern action against those charging above the provided prices.The move will benefit millions of patients in India and across the world. As per the NPPA notification, the standard and most widely used complete knee implant (cobalt chromium) has been capped at Rs 54,720 + GST. The price has been reduced by 65 per cent. Hospitals were, until now, charging up to Rs 1,58,324. Total knee implant of special metals like Titanium and oxidized Zirconium has been capped at Rs 76,600 + GST. Hence, there is a reduction in price by 69 per cent. Earlier, the hospitals were charging up to Rs 2,49,251.Highly flexible implants have been capped at Rs 56,490 + GST, which has seen a 69 per cent reduction. Hospitals used to charge up to Rs 1,81,728 for such implants. Second knee implant surgery would cost Rs 1,13,950 + GST, hence there has been 59 per cent reduction. It used to cost Rs 2,76,869 earlier.
The NPPA has made it clear that no healthcare institutions such as hospitals/nursing-homes/clinics performing orthopedic surgical procedures using knee implants shall solicit any patient to purchase knee implants from it, in case, the patient is interested in procuring such implant from any other third-party sources.
As per the notification, institutions such as hospitals/nursing homes/clinics utilizing knee implants shall specifically and separately mention the cost of the knee implant component-wise. The brand name, the name of the manufacturer/importer/batch no/specifications and other details, if any, should be informed or handed over by the institutions in their estimate/Performa invoice/final-billing.
The NPPA notification has tried to plug lacunas used by companies to increase profit margins in the drug trade as well. It has made clear that in case the manufacturer supplies/sells knee implants directly to the orthopedic healthcare institutions, without the involvement of any distributor, then the maximum trade margin for hospitals/nursing homes/clinics shall be restricted to 16 per cent.
According to medcureindia, a leading healthcare service provider in India, this price reform initiative will have wider and deeper positive impacts. The benefits will be transferred not just to Indian, but also Patients from Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan will gain economic benefits as the knee replacement will go cheaper without affecting the medical service quality. The price cap of knee implants will also give a boost to the medical tourism growth in India. International patients come for orthopedic treatments, in which knee replacement holds the majority of them.
The medical industry has mixed reactions as some hospitals will suffer from the inventory losses and present patient charges, whereas other hospitals have welcomed the move of the price cap.
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