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Stents Make Up Only 25% Of Angioplasty Cost, Says Study

Stents contribute to only one-fourth of the overall procedure cost; study identifies infrastructure, manpower constraints as real barriers to access

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A new study undertaken by IMS Health has revealed that the price of stents in India is not the highest contributor to the overall angioplasty cost. According to IMS Health, stent prices contribute only 25 per cent to the overall angioplasty procedure costs.

The study also found that prices of stents declined by 6-10 per cent per year over the last four years (2011-15) across private healthcare establishments, whereas procedure costs increased by 2-7 per cent.

The findings clearly reveal that there has been significant reduction in stent prices but it does not make much difference on overall procedure cost. Improving access to these coronary stents would require a comprehensive approach, and not just capping of prices. All stakeholders should look at the study findings as a gateway to understand the real issues that impact access to quality healthcare and improves health outcomes in India.

The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) commissioned IMS Health to conduct the study in order to establish a robust unbiased view of pricing trends for implantable medical devices and understand what drives cost of treatment, to define guiding principles which impact treatment cost, accessibility and quality of outcomes.

Abby Pratt, Vice President, Global Strategy and Analysis at AdvaMed, said its member companies – with their innovation driven portfolios and extensive network of physician training centers in India - remain committed to improving access to medical devices in India.

“The findings from the IMS Study clearly demonstrate that reduction of stent prices have not benefitted patients so far,” she said, explaining that the singular focus on capping prices of stents will not help improve access to these medical devices. “What’s required is a comprehensive multi-stakeholder approach, that involves contributions from other stakeholders in the access,” she said.

The real barrier to access is not the cost of medical devices but infrastructure and manpower constraints. For example, a patient will not be able to access stent therapy in spite of lower prices, in the absence of an adequate number of trained physicians and paramedical staff to effectively use these devices. As found by the IMS study, while the majority of the population resides in rural and tier-2/3/4 towns, infrastructure to provide healthcare services including hospitals, hospital beds per patient, cath labs and trained doctors is limited.