The All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) has released a statement urging the Government of India to reject the Advanced Medical Technology Association’s (AdvaMed) proposal to the US Trade Representative (USTR) about the benefits of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
The petition called for partial or complete suspension or withdrawal of India’s GSP benefits due to its alleged failure to offer equitable and reasonable access to its medical device market.
AdvaMed is a trade association that represents approximately 350 US companies, while GSP is a trade preference programme that allows the US to deliver duty-free treatment to imports from beneficiary developing countries.
Filed earlier this month, the petition is said to reflect the concerns of AdvaMed members regarding the recent implementation of price controls on coronary stents and knee replacement implants in India.
Controls are reported to have reduced the prices by 85% for coronary stents and 70% for knee replacement implants.
While AdvaMed said that it does not intend for India to lose GSP benefits, the association seeks mutually acceptable and sustainable solutions to improve patient access to medical technologies.
According to the AIDAN, the prices of cardiovascular stents and knee implants have been revised in the public interest to provide better access to essential medical devices.
The move is said to be intended to address the overcharging and the exploitation of patients carried out in the country by hospitals and doctors with companies, which was revealed during various surveys.
AIDAN said: “The price control on stents and knee implants has stopped unethical marketing practices to a certain extent and brought a degree of relief to patients and their families.
“Any move to withdraw or weaken price controls would expose patients to exploitation and amount to a denial of access to affordable healthcare, particularly in the private sector system.”
The organisation further added that the Indian government should expand the price controls to additional 19 medical device categories and asked the US Government to not exert policy pressure on the country while it makes medicines and medical devices more affordable.