February 12, 2018 / 5:20 PM / 6 months ago

India cuts stent prices by more than 7 percent

NEW DELHI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - India has cut prices of some stents by about 7.6 percent, a government body said on Monday, in the latest setback for the country's $5 billion medical device industry.

Prices of Drug Releasing Stents -- small wire-mesh structures used to treat blocked arteries -- have been slashed to 27,890 rupees ($433.82), from 30,180 rupees, the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority of India said in a statement.

Last year, India set a price cap for stents by slashing prices that patients pay for some devices by about 75 percent, a major escalation in a showdown between large medical device makers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

Companies such as Abbott Laboratories and Boston Scientific sell heart stents in India.

"This wasn't expected," said Probir Das, chair of the medical devices forum at Indian industry lobby group FICCI. "Industry discussions with the government had created an expectation that the prices would be increased for some stent varieties."

After last year's decision, Abbott and Medtronic had filed for withdrawal of some of their stents from India, but Modi's government rejected their requests, saying it contravened the nation's drug laws.

India has in recent years taken a more aggressive stance against multinational healthcare companies, announcing price curbs on drugs used to treat critical ailments such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. ($1 = 64.29 rupees) (Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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