Govt plans cap on trade mar­gins of med de­vices

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - Sushmi.Dey@ times­

New Delhi: The gov­ern­ment plans to bring down prices of com­monly used medical de­vices by cap­ping the trade mar­gin at 30% on the first point of sale, a move likely to trim ir­ra­tional profits made by distrib­u­tors, whole­salers, re­tail­ers and even hos­pi­tals by sell­ing such prod­ucts to pa­tients.

The gov­ern­ment think tank Niti Aayog has sug­gested that in or­der to make medical de­vices and ser­vices af­ford­able, ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion of trade mar­gins may be con­sid­ered and, on high vol­ume medical de­vices, up to 30% mar­gin may be al­lowed over the man­u­fac­turer’s price at the first point of sale.

The pro­posal was dis­cussed at a meet­ing with the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice re­cently. The Niti Aayog has also started con­sul­ta­tion with other stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing medical de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers and pub­lic health groups on the is­sue. It has also rec­om­mended the stand­ing com­mit­tee on af­ford­able medicines and health prod­ucts to come up with a list of medical de­vices, where vol­umes are high and in­dus­try profits can be curbed to ap­ply the cap on mar­gins.

At present, In­dia im- ports over 75% of all its medical de­vice needs and around 80% of the im­ports in­clude high-end prod­ucts used in crit­i­cal care.

At present, medical de­vices are largely out of gov­ern­ment price con­trol. Just four items — car­diac stents, drug elut­ing stents, con­doms and intra uter­ine de­vices — are in the Na­tional List of Es­sen­tial Medicines and fall un­der gov­ern­ment’s purview. Apart from these, only knee im­plants have been re­cently brought un­der price con­trol and the re-

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