Reuters: India to go on with price capping on medical devices

Modi’s government last year capped prices of some high-end heart stents  at around $450, compared to $3,000 charged earlier

India won’t abstain from capping prices for more medical devices, regardless of pressure  from US to rethink its stance after price controls on heart stents and knee implants spoilt the market for some U.S. firms, Reuters reported, quoting sources familiar with the matter.


India’s drug pricing authority is also pushing to bring three more devices used while treating heart ailments under price controls.  The reason is that they are sometimes more expensive than the stent itself, showed a government letter reviewed by Reuters.

In September, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office and Trade Minister Suresh Prabhu urging them “to not expand price controls to additional medical devices”, according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters.

During a meeting last month, Indian officials told USTR Assistant Trade Representative Mark Linscott that India had decided against making any such commitment, a trade ministry official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Linscott “expressed concerns” with India’s stance during the meeting, another Indian trade official said to Reuters.

Equating high trade margins on some medical devices with “illegal profiteering”, Modi’s government last year capped prices of some high-end heart stents  at around $450, compared to $3,000 charged earlier.

During a visit to Britain last month, Modi himself extolled the price caps’ success in making treatment much more affordable for Indians.

And India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has been pushing for more price controls.

The regulator wrote to the health ministry on Feb. 26, asking for three other devices used to treat heart ailments - cardiac balloons, catheters and guide-wire - to be added to a list of products eligible for price controls.

In the letter, the NPPA described the prices charged for these products as “exorbitant”, and said companies involved in bringing them to the market were enjoying high trade margins.

For its part, the USTR is currently reviewing India’s eligibility under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a program that allows duty-free imports of certain goods. India was the largest GSP beneficiary at $5.6 billion, the USTR said in April.