A letter from US trade representative (USTR), Robert E Lighthizer, dated September 18 to commerce minister Suresh Prabhu and principal secretary to the PM, Nripendra Misra, said he was following up on specific concerns related to price controls on coronary stents that US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and he had raised with PM Modi when he visited Washington in June.
Pointing out that controls had also been extended to orthopaedic implants, the USTR said the policy was “very troubling”. He said the US was committed to working with India to identify a policy solution that will address Indian government’s priorities relating to patient costs but would also promote trade, innovation, and access to most advanced technologies. “Until such a policy is developed, I urge you not to expand price controls to additional medical devices,” he added.
In a veiled threat, the USTR said statements by Indian government officials on expanding price controls to more medical devices was making US producers rethink their presence in India and discouraging them from introducing latest technologies, which could adversely affect India’s appeal as a medical tourism destination.
T he letter claimed the pricing policy had created serious problems for US companies selling devices in India. “The National Pharmaceutical Pri- cing Authority’s (NPPA) order on coronary stents does not sufficiently differentiate dr- ug-eluting stents based on the level of technology. This has disproportionately affected the most innovative and advanced stents,” it stated. Claiming the NPPA ceiling price is below the cost of production for the “most innovative stents” it said NPPA’s refusal to allow US firms to withdraw those products has forced them to continue to sell at a significant loss.
Lighthizer said the policies discouraged long-term investment in Indian market.
TOI had reported on Wednesday that US medical device makers had called for trade action against India.
Source : timesofindia