Stent price cut may up angioplasty cost, cut unwanted procedure

The Union government’s decision to cap prices of coronary stents has raised questions as to whether hospitals would increase the price of angioplasty itself to circumvent the rule.

With private hospitals left high and dry due to slash in prices resulting in steep drop in profit margins, apprehensions mount over the cost increase for other treatments.

A leading cardiologist from the city told DH, “It is a great move to cap prices. But, it has to be seen whether hospitals would increase the price of angioplasty itself to make up for the loss. Also, it has to be seen whether this would have an impact on cost of other treatments as well.”

While a few express concern over the minimal options that patients would have post-capping, others say the move would mean a ban on unnecessary stenting.
Dr Devananda N S, head of the department of cardiology, Manipal Hospitals, said the capping would not affect those opting for bare metal stent to a great extent. It is those opting for drug eluting type who would feel the pinch.

End to malpractices
Dr Devananda said that one of the advantages of the price cap could be an end to malpractices. “In cases such as those with multiple blockages and diabetes, the best option would be surgery. All these days, cardiologists could perform angioplasties in borderline cases as well. With reduced prices and profit margins, these unnecessary cases might not be taken up,” he said.

Limited choice
Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, vice-chairman and managing director, Narayana Hrudayalaya Ltd, said, “Reasonable price for stents is welcome. However, we believe that the mechanism used for pricing may lead to the Indian market missing out on some of the latest multinational products. As a result, it may limit the choice of stents for patients and physicians.”

DH News Service

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