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Centre’s move boon for poor heart patients

CORORY STENTS PRICE CUT

Savings of Rs 80-90 thousand per stent and gross relief of Rs 4,450 crore a year for cardiac patients; Centre warns of strict action against suppliers and hospitals for overcharging

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 15: The decision to slash prices of corory stents by the Central government has been welcomed by medical fraternity as well as common people of Assam where the number of patients with heart ailments has been increasing rapidly. The price cut decision will mainly benefit poor patients who find it tough to undergo costly surgeries for their cardiac ailments.      

In a major relief to lakhs of cardiac patients across the country, prices of life-saving corory stents were cut on Tuesday by up to 85 per cent by capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for drug eluting variety. The maximum retail price of bare metal stents (BMS) and drug eluting stents (DES) will be Rs 7,623 and Rs 31,080, respectively, inclusive of VAT and other local taxes.

A corory stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the arteries that supplies blood to the heart. It keeps the arteries open in the treatment of corory heart diseases.

The government’s decision to slash prices of corory stents has already been implemented by the State’s premier institute Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), while some other private hospitals have also decided to follow suit soon.

According to sources, number of people requiring angioplasty with stenting has increased in the last few years in the State. In angioplasty with stenting treatment, corory stents are required. Around 100 to 120 patients having complaints problems are treated at the GMCH every year and the number is increasing every year, added sources.

Patients who require angioplasty with stenting need to buy corory stents but the government doesn’t provide the same. Presently, corory stents manufactured by two foreign companies – MEDTRONIC and ABBOT – and one Indian company – Translumi – are being used by the GMCH for its patients. Patients buy these stents from healthcare associates of these companies.

Sources said following the price cut of corory stents by the Central government, these healthcare associates have informed the GMCH authorities that prices of these products will now be fixed as per rates fixed by the government.

Talking to The Sentinel on this issue, the GMCH Cardiology Head welcomed the move, saying that patients, mainly poor ones, having heart problems will be benefitted. “Although the Assam government has already taken up a scheme through which pacemakers are provided free of cost to some section of patients like government employees, retired employees and BPL patients, slashing of prices of corory stents will give them further fincial relief.”

Dr Nomal Chandra Borah, CMD, GNRC Hospital, said, “It is a good move taken by the Central government. Our hospital also does angioplasty with stenting. We have already put the new rates into effect.”

The authorities of raya Hrudayalaya also expressed similar support to the Central government’s decision.

The capping of corory stent prices will result in savings of Rs 80,000—90,000 per piece and gross relief of Rs 4,450 crore in a year for cardiac patients. The government said the companies will have to revise prices of the existing stock being sold in the market, adding that stringent action will be taken against hospitals and suppliers for overcharging.

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Ankur Kalita