Healthcare Industry supports Govt’s Move to Cap Knee Implant Prices but is skeptical about implementation

Orthopaedic surgeons, implant manufacturers, Industry bodies all welcome government’s move to cap prices of orthopaedic knee implant. Yesterday, the govt issued orders to cap prices of knee implants reducing prices of available implants to as low as 65%. Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananthkumar, while addressing the media said, “Government expects full cooperation from all the 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% over it. A step further, Shri Kumar added that the Government might also consider cancelling of licenses and initiate criminal proceedings against stakeholders engaged in unethical profiteering.

The Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) issued a statement to laud the government’s new order.

The statement said: AiMeD welcomes Govt’s move to cap prices of orthopaedic knee implants for ensuring no profiteering and affordable access but wish smooth transition for re-labeling and a systemic correction of skewed market place that currently does not allow choice of brands to consumers and a free market competition .
AiMeD earnestly recommended medical professionals to go for ICMED certified manufacturers and informed that QCI will shortly introduce ICMED Plus product specific certification which will have compliance to not only defined standards but also define minimum qualifications of base material alloys to address apprehensions of some Surgeons.

Few among the six Indian knee implant manufacturers found the prices ‘perfect and reasonable’, and said that the caps would help patients. However, at the same time, the manufacturers are worried about the implementation of re-labeling of stocks already in the market which will disrupt sales and trade and distributors ability to manage within the defined limited trade margins as they need to finance the inventory and provide customer support services on behalf of manufacturers

Here are the views of a few industry leaders.

Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, AiMeD
Prices are reasonable and we are with the government. We believe this price cap will help every person of the country who needs implants. But without reduction in total procedure cost by hospitals the move may not yield the desired results. We urge the Government to weed out unlicensed suppliers who will not  have a QMS certified facility and play its role as regulator. There are many such unlicensed manufacturers of orthopaedic Implants functioning in India but only Maharashtra FDA acted against them.
We urge the Government not to take “piecemeal approach” of fixing prices item by item, and instead should consider a holistic systemic change. Nath also inquired about other implants and other devices, including consumables and disposable.

Dr Anil Raheja, Sr. Knee Replacement Surgeon from Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Karol Bagh

This is a great move by the government this will help reduction in the overall cost charge for Total Knee Replacement & hence more and more patients shall be benefited with this move. Total Knee Replacement helps restore patients quality of life and most of the patients are discharged the same day post-surgery.

Neeraj Garg, CEO, Apollo Health & Lifestyle Ltd

Apollo Spectra Hospital welcomes the decision taken by the government, it will definitely help the patients who wanted to get Total Knee Replacement done. We expect that this will enable many more patients who have been delaying surgery for financial reasons to get their surgery done. In the long run, this will be good for Apollo Spectra Hospitals, who have built a Centre of Excellence in Orthopaedics, and particularly Joint Replacement Surgery.

Dr Gururaj S Puranik, Consultant – Trauma and Orthopaedics, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur

As joint replacement surgery is seen as second most ‘quality of life changing surgery’ by WHO, I welcome the government move as it will lead to a reduction in medical expenses. It will benefit millions of patients who are suffering from Knee arthritis and unable to undergo surgery due to costs. Only concern I have is about the limited choices patients might be left with, should companies withdraw the most advanced and cutting edge technologies especially International patients.

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