After coronary stents, the government has capped a price range for knee implants from Rs 54,000 to Rs 1.14 lakh, nearly 70 per cent lower than most surgeries currently cost.
There were reports of private hospitals charging high rates for knee implants, and the government move to fix the price will save patients an estimated Rs 1,500 crore annually.
“Walking the talk of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s speech on Independence Day 2017, the government has fixed the ceiling prices of orthopaedic implants used in knee surgeries from today”, said Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananthkumar, while addressing the media in Delhi on Wednesday.
It is a step to prevent Unethical profiteering and ensure affordable and quality healthcare for the last man, the minister added.
According to an estimate by World Health Organisation (WHO), by 2020 osteoarthritis is going to be the fourth largest cause of immobility in the world.
India has about 1.2 to 1.5 crore orthopaedic patients who require orthopaedic implant surgery. However, there are about 1 to 1.5 lakh orthopaedic knee procedures done in India every year.
Most of the diagnosed people requiring knee surgery are not able to afford because of very high cost.
“Government is reforming this state of affairs putting a ceiling on knee implants from today (wednesday),” the Minister added.
The total knee replacement implants made of special metals, such as titanium and oxidised zirconium, has been fixed at Rs 76,600, which is far less than the current price range of Rs 2.5-4.5 lakh.
Hospitals cannot charge more than Rs 56,490 for high-flexibility implants that otherwise has a prevailing rate of Rs 181,728.
Revision implants, used for replacing an older implant and specialised implants for cancers, cannot be at a price more than Rs 113,950, as per ceiling price calculated by NPPA.
Kumar said that the 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.
He 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 per cent over it. The government might also consider cancelling of licenses and initiate criminal proceedings against stakeholders engaged in unethical profiteering.
The government, in February this year, cut the maximum price of life-saving heart stents implants by up to 85 per cent by capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for drug eluting variety.