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Panel Likely To Study Stent Companies’ Demand On Price Cap

An inter-ministerial group is likely to be formed to examine stent makers’ demand that their products be exempted from price caps, after the latter failed to convince the Standing National Committee on Medicines for a revision of the national list of essential medicines (NLEM). The NLEM committee has been meeting both indigenous and multinational stent makers since August.

However, with the committee not finding any “therapeutic advantage” in these stents that favours price exemption, the issue is likely to be sent to an inter-ministerial group of experts, a senior official told ET, requesting not to be named. “The committee is on the verge of finalising its recommendations. Since the stent makers have failed to find favour with the committee, it is likely that the case (will) be sent to another group of experts, which may see merits on the basis of innovation,” the official said.

The decision of the committee assumes significance given that the trade negotiations between the US and India remained inconclusive and ended on Friday. In February 2017, the NPPA had capped the price of stents at up to 85% below their existing price.

Since then, many global stent makers have withdrawn their highend devices from India. While they have been pressing to create a new category of stents with advanced features, the experts, who have met for the second time to consider stent makers’ arguments, are of the view that there are “no grounds” to create a new category with differential pricing.

The companies did not “present adequate clinical evidence of superiority in terms of safety and benefit of their stents over currently available DES (drug eluting stents) this time too and, hence, no differential pricing can be recommended for these stents,” another official said. – Click Now

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