Govt slashes ceiling prices of knee implants by up to 69%

The government has fixed celing prices of all orthopaedic implants used in knee surgeries, in a bid to prevent unethical profiteering and ensure affordable and quality healthcare for the people.

Stating this at a media meet in the capital on Wednesday, union minister for chemicals and fertilisers and parliamentary affairs, Ananthkumar, said that as per the data analysis of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) there was huge margin in trade which was found to be unreasonable and in a way unethical 'profiteering'. 

He said his ministry will henceforth strictly monitor any overcharging of knee implants and penalise those found guilty.

Considering that around 1-1.5 lakh orthopaedic knee procedures are carried out in India every year, there will be an overall saving of about Rs1,500 crore for the people of India per annum, the minister said.

Kumar said the NPPA, while fixing the ceiling prices, has kept all the new technology implants in mind and prices have been fixed accordingly. The new prices have been fixed as follows:

Type Average MRP Reduction New MRP*
Cobalt Chromium (widely used) 1,58,324 65% 54,720
Titanium & Oxidized Zirconium 2,49,251 69% 76,600
High Flexibility Implant 1,81,728 69% 56,490
Revision implants 2,76,869 59% 1,13,950
For specialised implants for cancer and tumour NPPA has fixed company specific prices
*Companies will print the MRP by adding GST on these ceiling prices.

Kumar further said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that by 2020, osteoarthritis will be the fourth largest cause of immobility in the world. In India, most of the 1.2 to 1.5 crore orthopaedic patients who require orthopaedic implant surgery are not able to afford treatment because of very high cost. The government has been forcedto intervene to reform this state of affairs putting a ceiling on knee implants from today (16 August 2017), the minister added.

Kumar sought cooperation from all stakeholders, including importers, distributors, retailers, hospitals etc in ensuring that the benefit of reduction of prices of knee implants reaches the last man. The minister added that all complaints of overcharging would be strictly monitored and the overcharged amount would be recovered from erring parties with an interest of 18 per cent.

Further, Kumar said the government might also consider cancelling of licences of the manufacturer/importer/distributor and initiate criminal proceedings against those engaged in unethical profiteering.

The introduction of price controls marks the latest step by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to make drugs and medical devices more affordable. In February, it imposed a 75 per cent price cut for certain heart stents - wire mesh tubes used to treat blocked arteries.

Major manufacturers of medical implants and pharmaceutical companies have protested against India's price controls on drugs and medical devices, arguing this will curb innovation and could hurt future investment plans.