India rejects U.S. request on medical device price caps

• 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.

• India’s drug pricing authority is also pushing to bring three more devices, used in treating heart ailments, under the ambit of price controls as they are sometimes more expensive than the stent itself

==> Reason

• 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.

==> Significance

• India’s $5 billion medical device market has provided rich fishing grounds for U.S.-based companies like Abbott Laboratories and Boston Scientific Corp, but the prospect of price caps being extended to more products sent shivers through their ranks.

• The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) wrote to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office and Trade Minister Suresh Prabhu urging them “to not expand price controls to additional medical devices”

==> Highlights

• The NPPA also said intraocular lenses, which are used during eye surgery, should be brought under the list. 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”.

==> Background

• The U.S. The USTR is currently reviewing India’s eligibility under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which allows duty-free imports of certain goods.

• India was the largest GSP beneficiary at $5.6 billion


Share article