The central government's move to cap the stent prices may backfire and affect medical tourism potential, former Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said on Friday.
Ramadoss said making doctors prescribe drugs by their generic names was a good move but the issue of drug quality check had to be strengthened.
Ramadoss, a qualified medical doctor, told IANS that "capping the prices of stents may make manufacturers exit the Indian market which in turn would affect the patients".
"The government should have stipulated prices on slab basis. The capping of stent prices will also affect in-bound medical tourism (foreign patients coming to India for sugeries/treatment) into India," he said.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority capped the prices of drug eluting stents (DES) and bioresorbable stents at Rs 29,600, and that of bare metal stents at Rs 7,260 in February-excluding local taxes.
Ramadoss, a Lok Sabha member of the PMK representing the Dharmapuri constituency in Tamil Nadu, agreed with the industry's fear that companies may reduce their research and development (R&D) spend and exit the Indian market if the revised prices do not cover even the cost.
Terming the Centre's move to make doctors prescribe drugs by their generic name and not by their brand name as "good", Ramadoss said quality checks of drugs made in India have to beefed up.
"The drug quality is a state subject in India. In India checking drug quality is an issue," the PMK leader said.
According to him, the chemist will now try to push products of those manufacturers who give him higher margin.