Hyderabad: After introducing a regulation to fix prices of stents in the Country, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) now has initiated the process to come-up with a similar regulation for orthopaedic implants, intraocular lenses (IOL) and heart valves.
To get an idea on the pricing mechanism that is prevalent all over India, the NPPA has also started collecting information related to sale of orthopaedic implants, IOL lenses and heart valves across all the private and State-run health institutions in India.
In fact, on August 4 it had also released a statement on the profit margins that importers, distributors and hospitals make by selling knee replacement implants and other kind of Orthopaedic implants at inflated prices.
According to the NPPA report, if a particular brand of imported knee replacement implant lands (is imported) in India at Rs 65,781, then the same implant by the time it reaches the end users i.e. patients, it is sold for a whopping Rs 4,13,059.
The report said that such inflated prices imply that the profit margins on orthopaedic implants is anywhere from 76 per cent to as high as 313 per cent.
The reason for regulating the prices of orthopaedic implants, IOL and heart valves is due to the rise in the number of such surgeries. Sector experts point out that there has been a rapid growth of orthopaedic implants especially knee replacement surgeries in the Country. However, there is no control over the cost of the implants.
While Indian companies do manufacture knee and other kind of implants, surgeons, however, prefer Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approved implants because they guarantee longevity.
While Indian implants are 40 per cent cheaper than the imported ones, none of them are FDA approved, which makes it very difficult for doctors to advise patients to choose them.
“There was a time when imported implants had a lifetime of a decade. Now, thanks to research, today we are talking of implants that could last for over 35 years. Companies invest a lot of money in research and putting a price cap on such hi-tech implants will end up creating complications,” Orthopaedic surgeon from Apollo Hospitals, Dr Aachi Mithin said.
According to senior doctors, it is estimated that over 2 lakh replacement surgeries are conducted across India with the market growing at the rate of 30 per cent to 40 per cent.