After stents, knee implants get cheaper as govt caps price

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After cardiac stents, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the prices of orthopaedic knee implants. 

The cobalt chromium knee implant, available at over Rs 1,58,000 at hospitals, will now be available for a ceiling price of Rs 54,720. At present, such implants have a market share of 80 per cent. Implants with special metals like titanium or oxidised zirconium are priced at almost Rs 4,50,000 lakh. The new ceiling price will now be Rs 76,600. 

Highly-flexible implants are available at Rs 1,81,728 or more. Now, they will be sold at a ceiling price of Rs 56,490. Another category of surgery is revision implants, where a patient goes for a second surgery. The average maximum retail price of the revision implants is Rs 2,76,869. Now, they will be available at a ceiling of Rs 1,13,950.  

The GST may be levied over and above the ceiling price.

The move for capping orthopaedic implants comes after the NPPA found that companies manufacturing such devices were making unethical profits. A recent report on the margins in the supply chain said that the average margin on a full set of orthopaedic implant seems to be 313 per cent. The total trade margin is essentially the maximum retail price minus the import price. 

“The government will consider invoking Section 3 (i) of the Drug Price Control Order if manufacturers do not cooperate in keeping adequate stock,” Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar said. The government had invoked this section to ensure adequate quantity of high-end stents in the market after the NPPA fixed the ceiling price for stents. 

The prices are such that neither the manufacturer nor the patient will be at a loss, Kumar said.