On matters of the heart, February 14 turned out to be good news for many in more ways than one. In what is going to be a massive relief to the lakhs of cardiac patients across India, the government announced that the prices of coronary stents have been slashed by 85%.
The announcement made by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority states that the ceiling price for DES (drug eluting stents) and bioresorbable stents will be capped at Rs 30,000 and the prices of bare metal stents would be kept at Rs 7,500.
A stent is a tube made of either metal or plastic that gets inserted into the lumen of an anatomic vessel or duct to keep the passageway open.
A coronary stent keeps the arteries open when patients undergo treatment for coronary diseases.
Image for representation. Photo source
While making the announcement, Chemical and Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said, “We want to stop the menace of over-pricing of coronary stents in various hospitals. After careful consideration and after having inputs from various stakeholders, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has decided to fix the ceiling prices for cardiac stents.”
Before the change in pricing, a DES cost anywhere between Rs 24,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh, with a bioresorbable stent being even more expensive. According to reports, this is one of the ways hospitals make profit, sometimes marking up these pieces by 650%.
With this move, patients and their families in India are likely to save a collective Rs 4,450 crore within a year, the minister has noted. Estimates show that there were over 6 lakh stents used in India in 2016 in angioplasties alone.
Thousands of families can now find a bit of respite during tough times.