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US firms approach USTR against India’s medical price control measures

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017,13:28 IST By anju A A A

Washington | American companies producing medical devices and health information systems have approached the US Trade Representative against India’s move to implement price controls on coronary stents and knee replacement implants that they say denying them equitable market access.

In a petition, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) president and CEO Scott Whitaker requested the US Trade Representative (USTR) to “suspend or withdraw” India’s benefits under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

“AdvaMed and its members are deeply concerned about recently implemented price controls on coronary stents and knee replacement implants in India that have slashed prices by as much as 85 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively, followed by signals that price caps for additional life-saving and life-improving medical devices may be forthcoming,” Scott said.

Scott said that their intention was not for India to lose the benefits of GSP, but rather to advance engagement and meaningful discussions on restoring market access for medtech in India while keeping patients’ interests at the center of all discussions.

Scott alleged that India’s focus on controlling prices of high-quality medical devices, without any attempt to address the larger picture and correct inefficiencies in the health care system, would not achieve its intended benefits.

Recent reports indicate that the lowering of prices on medical devices – which are only one component of overall procedure costs – are not being passed along to patients.

Price controls may also block innovations and limit patient access to the best available care, he said.

Scott warned that failure to implement a mutually acceptable alternative could deter global organisations from making their latest products available to India’s health care providers and patients, make Indian innovators less competitive in global markets, negatively impact future investment in India, and ultimately harm patients.

“We believe a stable and predictable market environment is key to driving investments in R&D, manufacturing, and other services to grow the medical technology industry in India, and meet the current and future needs of all of India’s people,” he said.