Government Price controls on Medical devices
The Government of India plans to cap the prices of medical devices and further regulate the medical industry. It is now working on a proposal to formulate a comprehensive pricing policy for over 6,000 medical devices such as pacemakers, hearing aids, glucometers, and blood pressure instruments in the country.
What is happening currently?
The medical devices industry is currently pegged at Rs 80,000 crores by the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AIMED) which is one of the largest lobby of medical device makers in India. However, most of the sales are dominated by imports. Currently, patients are being overcharged by the hospitals as most of the imported medical devices do not carry Maximum Retail Price (MRP) tags.
This decision of the government is expected to directly benefit domestic players and provide a boost to the Make in India campaign of the current dispensation.
Who will do it?
The pricing control proposal has been given priority in the Department of Pharmaceuticals s (DoPs) current five-year vision plan. The DoP is the apex body under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers which governs the laws related to drugs and medical devices.
Actions in the Past
The government currently regulates only 24 medical devices under drug pricing laws. Of these 24, three medical devices condoms, cardiac stents, and knee implants were brought under the price control mechanism by the government. The Indian Government had, in 2014, capped the prices of stents and knee implants.
The remaining 21 such as syringes, cannulas, and catheters fall in the non-scheduled formulations are their makers are allowed to increase the price by 10% annually.
Why are the price controls necessary?
Price controls on medical devices are essential to restrict unethical business practices, lessen the burden of medical costs on people and for phasing out of sales linked to illegitimate commissions and inducements, particularly to the hospitals