Cancer treatment, heart surgeries to get more expensive in India following latest govt decision

According to the new index, reportedly the price of high-grade bypass stents will increase by Rs 165, thus the revised price will be Rs 30,812
Representational Image
Representational Image

With the government allowing drug makers to change the prices according to the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), the prices of essential medicines, including painkillers, antiinfectives, antibiotics and cardiac, are likely to increase marginally from April 2021. The drug deals are allowed to change the prices of scheduled drugs every year based on the annual WPI.

According to the new index, reportedly the price of high-grade bypass stents will increase by Rs 165. The current cost of these bypass stents is Rs 30,647 and the revised price will be Rs 30,812. The cost of a bare-metal stent will jump from Rs 8,417 to Rs 8,462. The move will affect those depending on expensive medicines even though the price hike is at a marginal rate. For example, the injection used for treating cancer, Trastuzumab, which currently costs Rs 59,976.96 will rise to Rs 60,299.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority said that the annual change in notified WPI works out to 0.5% for 2020. Reportedly, the pharmaceutical companies are aiming at an increase of 20% since there has been a surge of 15-20% in manufacturing costs this year.

According to various reports, nearly 80-90% of the ingredients for certain active pharmaceuticals are collected from China. The pandemic disrupted the supply of ingredients leading to higher costs to importers. Additionally, once the supplies resumed last year after the pandemic outbreak, China has also increased the prices of certain major ingredients by 10-20%.

Earlier, the government had extended the hike of Heparin injection which is used for Covid-19 treatment till September 2021. Following pharmaceutical companies' request, the government hiked the price of Heparin by 50%.

On this background, it is important to highlight that the slightest hike in medicine prices will affect the monthly budget of many patients, especially amidst the post-Covid crisis.

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