15:47 GMT +318 June 2019
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    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the official welcome of G20 leaders, guest countries and international organizations by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hamburg

    Modi's Fight Against Pharma Lobby Helped Indians Save $1.7Bln – Minister

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    The Indian government has put a cap on drug prices including that of coronary stents and knee implants – a move relentlessly opposed by exporters such as the US as well as local drug manufacturers. The move is part of the Modi government’s massive public health care reforms initiative.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): The Narendra Modi-led government in India has claimed that its initiative of imposing a cap on prices of medicines and coronary stents has been a major success. In a written reply to Parliament, Mansukh L. Mandaviya, minister of state for chemicals, claimed that the decision of capping the prices was taken despite strong pressure from the US, a major supplier of drugs and medical equipment to India, and has resulted in citizens saving more than $1.7 billion in the last four years.

    READ MORE: Are You Listening, Washington? India Launches Universal Health Care

    "This includes the saving of $683 million on account fixation of ceiling price of coronary stents and $225 million on account of price fixation of knee implants," said Mansukh L. Mandaviya.

    So far, the Indian government has fixed the ceiling prices of 851 medicines including four medical devices, i.e. cardiac stents, drug-eluting stents, condoms and intrauterine devices. The initial price cuts with regard to stents were up to 85 percent and further capping this year has prompted many multinational companies to withdraw their premium products from India.

    American firm Abbott Healthcare Pvt. Ltd withdrew its premium stents citing "commercial unviability post-fixation of ceiling price."

    The American pharma lobby has been exerting intense pressure on the Narendra Modi government through the Trump administration to remove ceiling prices on coronary stents and other medical equipment since February last year.

    The price cap on medicines has been one of the major irritants in India-US talks on trade barriers.  

    "The US is seeking a more nuanced approach for the price cap on medical devices," a senior official in the commerce ministry, who did not wish to be named, told Sputnik.

    Meanwhile, since US medical equipment makers filed petitions earlier this year, the Trump administration has been mulling withdrawing the zero duty on Indian imports. The US is currently reviewing the eligibility of India under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which provides preferential duty-free entry for thousands of products from developing countries. The review is currently examining post-hearing comments and the outcome of the review make take a few more months.

    READ MORE: Mundane Work Routine Causing Life-Threatening Inactivity Among Indians – Study

    According to a recent study conducted by the Public Health Foundation of India, over 54 million Indian residents fell below the poverty line in a single year because they were funding their own health care. The study reveals startling details, which claim that about 38 million of these people fell below the poverty line simply because they were buying medicine.

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    Tags:
    trade conflict, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, cost-cutting, healthcare, Narendra Modi, India, United States
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