National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) of India has written to all manufacturers asking for product details and the price of cardiac stents to check over-pricing.
Earlier, the Maharashtra Food & Drugs Administration highlighted overpricing of imported cardiac stents and asked for details of pricing mechanism to the manufacturers.
The NPPA has reminded the companies that since medical devices like orthopedic implants fall under non-scheduled drug category, their prices can be increased only up to 10% of MRP annually.
Also, the letter mentioned that in addition to the penalty, manufacturers/importers/distributors shall be liable to deposit the overcharged amount along with interest thereon from the date of increase in price.
Dr. Dilip Nadkarni, orthopedic surgeon at Lilavati Hospital, said, "It will not only bring uniformity but make the process very transparent and standardized."
"This is a good move. If the state government really looks into the pricing of plant, then it will definitely help patients," said Dr. Jayesh Lele, President-elect of Indian Medical Association, Maharashtra.
Doctors say that orthopedic implants are also priced immensely like in cardiac stents, where there is a huge disparity in manufacturing and selling prices.
Dr. Shubhranshu Mohanty, orthopedic surgeon attached to KEM Hospital and a member of Indian Orthopedic Association, said, "In private hospitals, they charge their profit margin too which is from 10-20%. The pricing of the implants in different hospitals differs too. In public hospitals, where the demand is huge, the manufacturers give heavy discount."
The NPPA has already taken initiatives to regulate the prices of stents and implants. In 2014, the NPPA had sought pricing data from the manufacturers, importers and distributors of cardiac stents, drug-eluting stents and orthopedic implants.
In 2011, the state's FDA had written to the Drug Controller of India that life-saving medical devices like stents, pacemakers, orthopedic implants among other things should be included in the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO).