Aimed to prevent unethical profiteering and ensure affordable and quality healthcare for the people, the government has fixed ceiling prices on knee implants. The move comes within months of fixing of prices for stents.
The new prices, reduced by at least 60%, came into force immediately. Overcharging of knee implants would be strictly monitored and penalised, Union Chemical and Fertlisers Minister Ananth Kumar said while announcing the new prices.
The most commonly used Cobalt Chromium implant which used to cost Rs 1.58 lakh will now cost Rs 54.720; implants made of special metals like titanium and oxidized zirconium priced at Rs 2.49 lakh will now be available for Rs 76,600; high flexibility implants has now been priced at Rs 56,490 instead of Rs 1.81 lakh; prices of revision implants has come down from Rs 2.76 lakh to Rs 1.13 lakh and the prices of specialised implants for cancer and tumor will be fixed at rs 1.13 lakh.
Based on the numbers of about 1 to 1.5 lakh orthopaedic knee procedures done in India every year, there will be a saving of about Rs.1500 crore for the people annually. It is a step to prevent unethical profiteering and ensure affordable and quality healthcare for the last man, the Minister added.
According to the data analysis of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), under Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, there was huge margin in trade which was found to be unreasonable and in a way unethical ‘profiteering’. The NPPA, while fixing the ceiling prices, has kept all the new technology implants in mind and prices have been fixed accordingly.
Mr Ananth Kumar said the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that by 2020, osteoarthritis is going to be the fourth largest cause of immobility in the world. India has about 1.2 to 1.5 crore orthopaedic patients who require orthopaedic implant surgery. Most of the diagnosed people requiring knee surgery are not able to afford because of very high cost. the government is reforming this state of affairs putting a ceiling on knee implants from today, the Minister added.
The Minister said that the Government expects full cooperation from all the stakeholders including importers, distributors, retailers, and hospitals in ensuring that the benefit of reduction of prices of knee implants reaches the last man. The Minister added that all complaints of overcharging would be strictly monitored and the overcharged amount would be recovered from erring parties with an interest of 18% over it. The Government might also consider cancelling of licenses and initiate criminal proceedings against stakeholders engaged in unethical profiteering.
Meanwhile, Medical Technology Association of India (MTaL) is reviewing the Order of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on knee implants, and will revert with suggestions, if any, to the NPPA for ensuring the practicality of its implementation after due analysis.