As Prime Minister Modi goes about saying 'howdy' to Texans, members of a domestic action group for drugs, medication and medical equipment are asking some tough questions about the manner in which prices of certain medical devices have been fixed in a manner that benefits US device manufacturers.
The All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) has issued a statement on the subject saying, "It is evident that the government’s control of prices on medical devices has been the most prominent issue in negotiations around what is being referred to in the media as a “mini trade deal” between India and theUnited States (US). The US Government has applied extraordinary pressure on India against the pricecaps on coronary stents and knee implants. It is an indisputable fact that these price caps were greatlybeneficial to the public and reduced out of pocket expenditure of families undergoing procedures involving these devices."
The statement alleges that US device manufacturers leaned on the Indian government using political channels.It gives the example of stents saying, "India’s price control regime operates under the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO) issued under the Essential Commodities Act. Implemented by the National Pharmaceutical PricingAuthority (NPPA), price controls on stents were imposed in after irrefutable evidence gathered by the NPPA showing gross abuse and overcharging in the pricing of theseessential medical devices."
The statement adds, "At the behest of US medical device manufacturers, the issue of these price controls became a sticking point in US and India trade discussions and were among the reasons cited for the withdrawal of India’s GSP privileges by the US. At the time of the withdrawal of GSP benefits, the Indian government itself noted that the impact would be on a minor segment goods exported from India to the US. A letter by 44 US lawmakers has confirmed this and indeed pointed out that exports from India to the US have in fact increased. In light of this, it is extraordinary that the Government is proposing to endanger access to medical devices for crores of Indians."
The entire statement may be read here: