Government claims it lowered prices of heart stents. Rates increased instead

The government agency discounted the last set of prices

Published : 3 April 2024, 10:52 PM
Updated : 3 April 2024, 10:52 PM

The Directorate General of Drug Administration on Tuesday announced new prices for 23 types of stents, commonly called heart rings in Bangladesh, proudly claiming the rates of 22 have been reduced.

“This is a groundbreaking step by the Directorate General of Drug Administration in cutting prices of heart rings,” it said in the notice.

But compared with the last set of prices fixed on Dec 12, 2023, which the government agency ignored in its analysis, the latest rates of 20 types have actually increased by Tk 2,000-Tk 10,000.

An official has claimed they did not take into consideration the last list because the suppliers did not follow it.

According to the December 2023 list, the price of Poland-made Alex and Alex Plus stents was Tk 53,000. In the new list, it has become Tk 60,000.

The DGDA, however, compared the prices of the two stents to the rates fixed in 2022 and 2017. At that time the price of one stent was Tk 80,000, and the other Tk 62,395.

In Tuesday's list, the price of Japan-made Ultimaster Tensei is Tk 66,000. It has been claimed that the price of that stent has decreased by Tk 23,200 from Tk 83,200 set on Dec 7, 2022.

But according to the price list of Dec 12, 2023, the cost of that stent was Tk 60,000. That is, the rate increased by Tk 6,000.

The costs of two types of Direct-Stent Siro stents made in the US have been increased from Tk 55,000 to Tk 66,000, and from Tk 20,000 to Tk 30,000.

Besides these, the price of Switzerland's Orsiro stent has been increased by Tk 5,000, Orsiro Mission Tk 3,000, Pro-Kinetic Energy Tk 5,000, Biometrics Neoflex Tk 2,000, Biometrics Alpha Tk 1,000, and Biofreedom by Tk 3000.

Similarly, India-made Metafor stents became costlier by Tk 5,000, Evermine50 Tk 10,000, and Biomime Morph by Tk 10,000.

The price of US-made Affinity MS Mini has increased by Tk 5,000, South Korea's Genos DES by Tk 11,000, Spain's eVascular Angiolite by Tk 7,000, Germany's Xilimus by Tk 5,000 and the Netherlands' Abluminus DES Plus by Tk 5,000.

DGDA Director General Maj Gen Mohammad Yusuf did not take phone calls for comments.

Its Director Md Salahuddin said they ignored the last list in their analysis because the suppliers had not accepted it as the representatives of four European companies had skipped the meeting to fix the prices.

In December 2023, when the DGDA set the prices of stents, a major portion of importers had objected to the new prices and had halted supplies. The issue had also escalated to court.

However, after the determination of the new prices on Tuesday, the acting president of the Medical Device Importers Association of Bangladesh, Wasim Ahmed, said that there was "not much objection" to it.

He told, "Considering the current prices of dollars and euros, the set prices are also low. Now, we have to talk with our distributors. We have to tell them that the government has made rules, take some benefits from them... and adjust so that we can survive for now."