Medical devices like stents, valves must soon display MRP

Medical devices which are declared as 'drugs' in India, such as stents, valves, orthopaedic implants, syringes and tools for operations, will have to display their maximum retail price (MRP) and other details including that of manufacturer and importer under new rules that come into force from 1 January next year.

These products also need to display the consumer helpline number for lodging any complaint. The new rules also make it mandatory for ecommerce firms to mention the MRP of products, which is aimed at ending any ambiguity on whether the online firms are actually giving the discounts that they claim in their advertisements.

"Even after capping of prices of medical devices, many companies were not displaying (the rates). The new rules will be of great help to consumers at large and particularly the poor. The companies have to follow these norms under the Legal Metrology Rules," consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan told The Times of India.

Earlier, all medical devices were covered under the Legal Metrology (Packaged) Commodities Rules. But in 1995, some of them were declared as drugs and stopped mentioning the MRP. A sub-committee set up to propose changes in the rules had recommended bringing them back under the MRP regime.

A consumer affairs ministry official said that the application of Legal Metrology Rules will provide another layer to protect consumers' rights. Non-application of MRP led to a situation where consumers were charged arbitrarily by hospitals for medical devices and the health ministry had to famously cap the prices of stents (See: India slashes stent prices by up to 85%; cap at Rs30,000).