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Stent shortage scare by MNCs unfounded: NPPA

The data shows that the influx of stents in the Indian market, both manufactured by domestic players and multi-national corporations, has risen over the past three years

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Contrary to the shortage scare created by the United States-based multi-national corporations in the market after price ceiling last year, India faced no such hurdles a year on.

While there was a contention that reducing cardiac stent prices will lead to a shortage of stents in Indian market, data procured from National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) reflects that even though there was decreased distribution of imported stents, domestic players more than made up for the void by increasing supply.

The data shows that the influx of stents in the Indian market, both manufactured by domestic players and multi-national corporations, has risen over the past three years. In 2016, Indian manufacturers had recorded an opening stock of 1,16,108 stents which rose to 1,42, 267 in 2017, an increase of 22 per cent. US MNCs like Abbott, Medtronic, Boston Scientific and Umbra Medical Products recorded a 14.95 per cent rise in their opening stocks from 54,574 in 2016 to 62,733 in 2017.

To the opening stock, US MNCs further added 3,59,516 stents in 2017, the year in which NPPA introduced the price capping. While earlier drug-eluting stents (DES) cost anywhere between Rs 1-2 lakhs, after the latest price revisions, a DES costs Rs 29,284. US-based MNCs had raised a huge hue and cry about price capping and tried to remove the ceiling. They also threatened to stop distribution in India, which reflects in the NPPA data.

Officials said that no patient suffered because of the decreased distribution. The data states that while 9, 00,477 stents were distributed across India in 2016 (this includes Indian companies, US-based MNCs, non-US companies, and a Chinese company), this dipped by a marginal 0.9 per cent to 8,92,358 stents in 2017.

While in 2016, US MNCs had distributed 3, 48, 594 stents in India, the figure plummeted to 2, 99, 531 in 2017, a dip of close to 14%. However, NPPA officials said that this did not create a scare of shortage as the domestic manufacturers jumped in to fill the void created by the US-based MNCs and their distribution increased from 5, 13, 229 in 2016 to 5, 44, 853 in 2017, an increase of 5.80%. And then there was influx of stents from China from Microport as well as non-US MNCs like German-based Biotronik and B. Braun, Japan-based Terumo, UK and UAE-based Vasmed Technologies Ltd, Singapore-based Biosensors Interventional Technologies Pvt Ltd and Spain-based Lifevascular Device Biotech Ltd. While China distribute 7, 656 stents in 2017, the non-US MNCs pumped in 40, 588 stents in 2017 an increase of 4.76% from 2016.

Overall, 0.9% lesser stents were distributed in 2017 as compared to 2016, states the NPPA data, a marginal dip.

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