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MTaI Wants States Be Restrained From Taking Price Decisions On Medical Devices, Other Products

Price control decisions, when unavoidable, should be taken by a single body for which India already has the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which has the research and implementation ability to do this job thoroughly

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The Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) on Saturday said states must be restrained from intervening in price control of medical devices and other products, and the national drug price regulator should take decisions in this regard. The organisation, which represents research-based medical technology companies, said price capping orders by various states on COVID essentials like PPE kits and N95 masks could lead to supply constraints.

'We are at a critical juncture in the fight against COVID and the government and industry are trying to rally together to overcome this situation. At such a time, decisions taken without consulting with the industry will lead to confusion,' MTaI Chairman and Director General Pavan Choudary said in a statement.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have fixed prices at different points which may create risk of products being sold at multiple price points across the country, he added.

'This will lead to companies incurring additional costs and logistical challenges due to re-labelling and may disrupt the availability of these essential products. Companies may also choose not to market the product in the territory where the costs and complexities outweigh the benefits,' Choudary noted.

The Tamil Nadu government on June 4 announced the fixing of MRP of 15 COVID essential medical products including hand sanitizers, PPE kits, N95 masks and surgical gowns, he said.

This is similar to the orders released by the Kerala government in May and by the Maharashtra government last year, Choudary added.

The points at which the prices have been capped seem irrationally low, which may make this market unviable for the industry, Choudary said.

Another concern is that this may deprive the frontline healthcare workers of access to good quality protection compromising their safety, he added.

'Some experts have opined that theoretically not only the state governments, but district magistrates also have the authority to regulate prices. If such adventurism in pricing is allowed in practice, industry will have to brace itself for a time when price control is happening at a district level also! Our vision to attract domestic and foreign capital to invest in medical devices will go crashing and so would patient interest,' Choudary said.

Price control decisions, when unavoidable, should be taken by a single body for which India already has the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which has the research and implementation ability to do this job thoroughly, he noted.

'We look forward to a timely intervention by the concerned authorities to restrain states' intervention in price control,' Choudary said.

(PTI)