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Govt slashes knee replacement surgery cost by 70 per cent

Thursday August 24, 2017 6:02 AM, & Agencies

Knee Surgery

New Delhi:
In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day promise to take steps to rein in healthcare costs, the government on Wednesday said it is placing knee implants under price control.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) fixed the selling price of knee implants from Rs 54,000 to Rs 1.14 lakh, nearly 70% lower than most surgeries currently cost.

The price for the commonly used cromium cobalt knee implants that rules about 80% of the market share is fixed at Rs 54,720 which is currently available for Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh.

"After cardiac stents, we have now decided to bring knee implants under price control," Ananth Kumar said, while addressing the press conference.

The cancer patients, who need an implant, will now have to pay Rs 1,13,950 for specialized implants. The earlier cost was Rs 5 lakh and above.

"The government will take a stringent action against hospitals, importers and retailers, if they charge in excess of the MRP. The government will not be a mute spectator to illegal and unethical profiteering," Kumar added.

A price cap on implants is expected to benefit millions of patients with orthopaedic problems. Industry data, which experts say does not fully capture the picture, shows over three crore arthritic patients in India in need of knee replacement surgery.

Since this is not a life-threatening disease, the number of patients opting for surgery is comparatively low.

Even then, estimates show that over 1,20,000 knee replacement procedures, and about 70,000 hip procedures, take place every year in India. And the costs are not low. Preliminary analysis by the NPPA shows the MRP of the total knee system ranges between Rs 59,091 and Rs 4,13,059.

Add to this hospital costs, surgeon charges, time in the operation theatre, and several other miscellaneous charges. The latest price regulation by government is seen, in this context, as a step towards rationalising healthcare costs.

The government had earlier in February this year reduced prices of coronary stents by up to 400 per cent, capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for the drug eluting variety.

The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers Department of Pharmaceuticals in a notification issued Monday said in public interest, it has fixed the ceiling price of bare metal stents at 7,260 and that of drug eluting stents and bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS)/biodegradable stents at Rs 29,600.

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