India rejected United States request on capping prices for medical devices

Vastavam web: India has told the United States it won’t abstain from capping prices for more medical devices, regardless of pressure to rethink its stance after price controls on heart stents and knee implants spoilt the market for some U.S. firms, sources familiar with the matter said.India’s drug pricing authority is also pushing to bring three more devices used while treating heart ailments under the ambit of price controls as they are sometimes more expensive than the stent itself, showed a government letter reviewed.

In September, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office and Trade Minister Suresh Prabhu urging them “to not expand price controls to additional medical devices”, according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters.During a meeting last month, Indian officials told USTR Assistant Trade Representative Mark Linscott that India had decided against making any such commitment, a trade ministry official told on Tuesday.Linscott “expressed concerns” with India’s stance during the meeting, another Indian trade official said.

A USTR spokesperson declined to comment for this article, and Modi’s office did not respond to Reuters’ queries.Equating high trade margins on some medical devices with “illegal profiteering”, the government last year capped prices of some high-end heart stents – small wire-mesh structures used to treat blocked arteries – at around $450, compared to $3,000 charged earlier.During a visit to Britain last month, Modi himself extolled the price caps’ success in making treatment much more affordable for Indians.The regulator wrote to the health ministry on Feb. 26, asking for three other devices used to treat heart ailments – cardiac balloons, catheters and guide-wire – to be added to a list of products eligible for price controls.

In the letter, the NPPA described the prices charged for these products as “exorbitant”, and said companies involved in bringing them to the market were enjoying high trade margins.A senior health ministry official told that the NPPA’s requests merited “consideration”.The medical device manufacturers argue that India’s price control mechanism hurts innovation, profits and future investment, and the USTR described India’s policy as “very troubling”.Indian trade officials anticipate coming under more pressure from the United States.