Avg Trade Mar­gins on Knee Im­plants as High as 300%: NPPA

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New Delhi: Av­er­age trade mar­gins on knee sys­tems for im­plants are as high as 300%, In­dia’s drug pric­ing watch­dog said.

The av­er­age mar­gin for im­porters of to­tal knee sys­tems was 76% while for distrib­u­tors and hos­pi­tals, it was 135%, the Na­tional Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Pric­ing Au­thor­ity said on Friday. The to­tal trade mar­gin av­er­aged 313%, the reg­u­la­tor said.

A to­tal knee sys­tem can cost a pa­tient as much as .₹ 4.13 lakh and a min­i­mum of .₹ 59,091, while im­port prices ranged be­tween .₹ 23,408 and .₹ 65,781, the reg­u­la­tor said.

Distrib­u­tors and hos­pi­tals on av­er­age mark up prices of com­po­nents such as femoral, tib­ial plate, in­serts and patel­las range by be­tween120% and 163%, ac­cord­ing to the data. NPPA’s data on knee im­plants comes five months af­ter the reg­u­la­tor slashed the prices of car­diac stents by up to 85% to make them af­ford­able. Distrib­u­tors and hos­pi­tals were found to be among those making the high­est profit in the stent busi­ness in In­dia.

The new no­ti­fi­ca­tion comes af­ter the Cen­tral Drug Stan­dard Con­trol Or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­posed that a com­mit­tee eval­u­ate whether heart valves, or­thopaedic im­plants and lenses used in cataract surg­eries should be brought un­der the Na­tional List of Es­sen­tial Medicines. Such a move would al­low the Depart­ment of Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to no­tify th­ese de­vices as sched­uled drugs, paving the way for NPPA to cap their prices.

It is not con­firmed whether NPPA re­leased the data on knee im­plants be­cause it may limit their prices. The reg­u­la­tor had ear­lier asked for trade data on 18 other med­i­cal de­vices. “The gov­ern­ment and NPPA com­mit­ted to trans­parency and af­ford­able health­care,” NPPA said on so­cial me­dia plat­form Twitter. NPPA Chair­man Bhu­pen­dra Singh could not be reached for com­ment.

“It would be a good move if they cap prices, es­pe­cially of knee and hip im­plants. The price to dis­trib­u­tor of joints (knee and hip im­plants) ranges be­tween .₹ 45,000-55,000 but the hos­pi­tals charge up to .₹ 1.7 lakh for only the im­plants, sep­a­rate from the pro­ce­dure costs,” said an in­dus­try of­fi­cial on con­di­tion of anonymity.

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