Price control a blunt instrument: AdvaMed on NPPA’s knee implant price cap order

While reacting to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority's recent order on profiteering, the AdvaMed has stated that the new pricing has the potential to block innovations and limit access to world-class medical care to patients

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New Delhi: The leading association of global medical technology companies, AdvaMed and its members have expressed concern over the government’s decision on price capping for knee implants.

In a statement issued on the late evening of 23rd August, the AdvaMed stated that there is no imminent emergency and hence the use of para 19 to fix prices is inappropriate. “Quality and innovation are key to building a strong and functioning healthcare system that is able to take care of current and future needs of all Indians,” it said.

Using strong words, it has also called the process by which the decision was made by invoking para 19, as a draconian use of power.

“As has been observed from experiences and vocalized by many experts, ‘Price Control’ is a blunt instrument that does not address the concerns surrounding affordability and accessibility but has been shown to have negative impact largely led by quality concerns and access to next generations/innovative technologies, mentioned the statement adding further, “For these reasons, we respectfully request the Government reverse this decision and work with industry and other stakeholders to consider sustainable, market-oriented alternatives.Any policy that impedes innovation, will not only make Indian innovators non-competitive in global markets, but also will deter global organizations from making their latest products available to Indian patient population.”

As per AdvaMed, any policy that impedes innovation, will not only make Indian innovators non-competitive in global markets, but also will deter global organizations from making their latest products available to Indian patient population.

The Association said that it believes the singular focus on controlling ceiling price of knee implants, without attempting to address the larger picture and correct inefficiencies in the healthcare ecosystem will not address the concerns surrounding patient affordability in the long run. “In fact, this order does not ultimately control the overall procedure prices that patients have to pay,” its statement emphasized.

According to AdvaMed, while the government’s intent is to cap prices in patient interest and make healthcare affordable for all, this pricing has the potential to block innovations and limit access to world-class medical care and options to patients. Additionally, this would have a huge impact on the launch of and access to next generation/ innovative implants that are of standard quality in India. It will also negatively impact the future environment for investment and FDI inflow in the country. It is critical to evaluate the long term negative impact of such decisions on patient outcomes, a consequent increase in adverse events, and subsequent rise in long term healthcare costs, which defeats the entire purpose and spirit in which this price control exercise has been undertaken in the first place.

The association reiterated that effective, appropriate and sustainable delivery of quality healthcare depends on the 3As of awareness, accessibility, and affordability. “It is important to note that the challenges in healthcare cannot be addressed through actions from or on one stakeholder alone. Infrastructure development to diagnose and appropriate patient care is of prime importance. Medical technologies are only one part of the treatment picture and reducing prices for a singular input will not achieve increase patient access without a comprehensive program that includes multi-stakeholder engagement and action,” the statement concluded.