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Govt to act against cos creating artificial shortage of stents

PTI | New Delhi |

The government on Friday said it is keeping a close watch on some companies trying to create an artificial shortage of life-saving coronary stents and stringent action will be taken against those engaging in unethical practices.

There are reports of shortages of stents in hospitals after the government reduced their prices by up to 85 per cent by capping rates of bare metal stents at Rs.7,260 and drug-eluting ones at Rs.29,600 on February 13.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Drug Controller General India (DCGI) as well as the Health Ministry have been asked to ensure compliance of price-capping and adequate availability of coronary stents in the market at the earliest.

"We are keeping an eye on all those who are engaging in unethical practices such as creating an artificial shortage of stents, not abiding by the fixed ceiling price etc., against whom strict action will be taken," Pharma Secretary Jai Priye Prakash said.

The government would take all steps to ensure that there is an adequate supply of coronary stents for cardiac patients in the country, he added.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals has written separately to the NPPA, DCGI and Healthy Ministry, requesting them to take "necessary action" to curb the artificial shortage.

"…NPPA, on February 13, has fixed the ceiling prices of coronary stents. There are some reports regarding a shortage of coronary stents in the markets/hospitals.

"It is, therefore, requested that necessary action may be taken under paragraph 21 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 (DPCO, 2013) to ensure an adequate availability of coronary stents at the earliest," it said in its letter.

To implement the price cap, some manufacturers, distributors and importers are withdrawing cardiac stents from hospitals in the name of re-labelling, thereby creating an artificial shortage.