Hospitals sell life-saving cardiac stents at a margin of over 1,000 per cent of their actual cost. This revelation came up in the latest data provided by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA). It found mark-ups in stents as high as 1,026 per cent of the landed costs, with Rs 67,272 deduced to be the average unit price paid by the final consumer. It’s the first time the government has come out with this data.
Since the order for price regulation of stents was passed by the Department of Pharmaceuticals on December 21 last year, the NPPA has been busy with consultations and data gathering on the costs of different stents—bare-metal, drug-eluting and bio-absorbable. Research suggests the total expenditure on angioplasties is Rs 7,600 crore (equivalent to 40 per cent of the central government’s health budget), of which the largest amount is spent on stents. Bringing stents under price regulation is therefore crucial in making healthcare affordable.