August 18th, 2017
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on Wednesday capped the price of knee implants – devices used to replace damaged parts of knee joints.
The decision came after the Union Cabinet on Monday decided in a meeting to set ceiling prices of knee implants as many patients who need to undergo the procedure are unable to afford it because of the high prices.
Out of the 1.5-2 crore patients who require arthroplasty interventions (surgical replacement of joints), only around a lakh are in a position to pay for the procedure every year, stated the NPPA.
The NPPA exercised its own powers to take the decision, reported The Economic Times, instead of waiting for the government to bring the devices under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).
Earlier in February the NPPA had also slashed the prices of coronary stents by up to 85% for cardiac patients, however, the decision was taken only after the government included them in the NLEM.
The drug pricing regulatory body slashed the prices of total knee replacement systems and their individual components by as much as 69%.
The move is expected to lead to a saving of Rs 1,500 crore per year as per Union Cabinet Minister for Chemicals, Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Ananth Kumar.
Citing a World Health Organization bulletin from 2003, NPPA said osteoarthritis could become the fourth leading cause of disability by 2020. India is likely to be one of the leading countries of such immobilized citizens in terms of numbers.
Industry bodies representing manufacturers said they were reviewing the order and would take their suggestions to the regulator for its effective implementation.
The Logical Indian community welcomes NPPA’s decision as it would benefit thousands of patients suffering from knee related health problems. We hope that its proper implementation takes place.