Government caps price of knee-replacement devices

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

The WHO notes that osteoarthritis, the main reason for knee replacement, is set to become the fourth-biggest cause of immobility in India by 2020.

Moving further from its earlier decision to seal the maximum price of coronary stents, the government on Wednesday capped the prices of various knee replacement implants with immediate effect.

Addressing media persons, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar said capping of the price of knee implants came into effect from Wednesday and the move will lead to a total saving of ₹1,500 crore to patients.

Every year, up to 1.5 lakh knee replacement procedures are carried out in India.

The Minister cited an analysis by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Agency (NPPA) that talked about a huge margin in trade and found it unreasonable. This “unethical profiteering” forced the government to go for fixing ceiling prices, he added.

Cobalt-chromium implants used in total knee replacement, which is preferred in 80 per cent of knee replacement surgeries, are capped at ₹54,720, leading to an average price reduction of up to 65 per cent. Cobalt-chromium implants are currently sold at prices ranging from ₹1.5-2.5 lakh, the Minister said.

Similarly, total knee replacement implants made of special metals, such as titanium and oxidised zirconium, cannot have a price of more than ₹76,600, which is far less than the prevailing rates that range between ₹2.5-4.5 lakh.

Hospitals cannot charge more than ₹56,490 for high-flexibility implants that otherwise carry an average MRP of ₹181,728 at present.

Revision implants, used for replacing an older implant and specialised implants for cancers, cannot attract a price of ₹113,950, as per ceiling price calculated by NPPA, Kumar said.

Punitive action

Any hospital overcharging patients will attract punitive actions, which include heavy penalty and even revoking of licence, the Minister said.

He added that action has been initiated against 39 hospitals across the country as they were violating the NPPA order on coronary stent pricing.

According to the World Health Organisation, osteoarthritis — the main reason for people needing knee replacement — is set to become the fourth biggest cause of immobility in India by 2020.

Published on August 16, 2017

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