PUNE: Fixing ceiling prices of knee implants by government may not necessarily benefit the patients, opine city doctors.
On Wednesday, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar informed the media that the government has fixed the ceiling prices of orthopedic implants used in knee surgeries. Based on the numbers of about 1 to 1.5 lakh orthopedic knee procedures done in India every year, there will be a saving of about Rs 1,500 crore for the people of India per annum. He also mentioned that the step will ensure prevention of unethical profiteering, ensure affordable and quality health care for the last man, the minister added.
Expressing concern, Dr Nitin Bhagali, city-based orthopaedist, said that Indian patients opt for total knee replacement at a much later stage when deformities are advanced.
“Correcting crooked deformities by an artificial replacement needs special augmentation of ordinary prosthesis. There is no mention of such augmented primary knees in the notification,” said Bhagali.
He further mentioned that many multinational companies have come with a wide range of sizes of both thigh (femur) and leg bones (tibia) caps to suit the needs of Indian patients, specially ladies whose sizes pose a challenge for a good fit. These advanced versions are very expensive and may be totally withdrawn from Indian market like drug eluding stents due to this capping.
Another doctor from the city on the condition of anonymity mentioned that average age of a replaced joint is 15 years.
“But, the age at which a replacement may be required is also getting reduced. Hence, new innovative materials which may resist wear longer and yet be accepted by the body are continuously researched and evolved. Processing of medical grade metals, laboratory trials, research and intellectual property rights add to the cost of prosthesis. Hence there is a possibility that the new technology does not reach the people in India due to the capping,” said the doctor.