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.
"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.
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 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.
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.