Monday, July 24, 2017

Government finding ways to cap stent prices in Bangladesh: DG health services

  • Nurul Islam Hasib bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-03-28 01:50:57 BdST

bdnews24
A heart surgeon holds a stent, which is inserted into constricted coronary arteries to normalise blood flow. Reuters

Inspired by the Indian move, the Bangladesh government is also finding ways to cap the prices of stents used in cardiac surgery.

“We only recently came to know that our patients have to pay very high prices for stents compare to India,” Director General for Health Services Prof Abul Kalam Azad told bdnews24.com on Monday.

“We have started discussing the issue…I have already talked with the drug administration authority,” he said.

He stated that they came to know that the same stent costs five or more times higher in Bangladesh than India.

“First we got the clue from social media that the prices of a stent which is being sold at over Tk 200,000 in Bangladesh can be purchased in India by only Tk 37,000. Indian companies produce those stents,” he said.

“In India, the price was also very high, but they could cap it by including the device in the essential drug list,” Prof Azad said.

“Now we have that weapon too,” he said, adding that medical devices have been recognised as a drug in the new drug law.

“So now the drug authorities can control them,” he said, “by listing the item in the essential drug list”.

Currently, Bangladesh has 170 drugs in the list of essential medicines prices of which the government can control.

“Now we’ll make a plan and bring the price list from the original producer in India. If we can reduce the price, then poor people would be benefitted immensely,” he said.

President of Bangladesh Society of Cardiovascular Intervention Prof Afzalur Rahman told bdnews24.com that around 15,000 stents are used for cardiac procedures in a year in Bangladesh.