The Hush Post: Ushering the new year on a healthy note, manufacturers of medical syringes and needles have decided to reduce the price of this basic medical necessity from January, although after a nudge from the government. The All India Syringes and Needles Manufacturers Association has issued a circular to its members to print the maximum retail price (MRP) on the basis of a maximum of 75% margin from December 24, and to implement it latest by January 26 next year.

All syringes and needle categories, including disposable, auto disable, reuse prevention and insulin pen needle will be covered by the decision. For many brands of syringes in the hospital segment, the prices will fall by at least two-thirds and in the chemists segment for many brands it will fall by half, except for brands which were already selling for less than 75% trade margin. In the case of corporate hospitals the fall could be even more. It also wrote to all foreign manufacturers of syringes, urging them to join the effort to self-regulate and “bring relief to patients”. Pushing implementation till the end of January was to allow manufacturers to clear current stocks to enable a ‘smooth transition’, the circular observed.

Members of the association account for an estimated 85 per cent of the market for syringes and needles in India. The move comes after a meeting between the manufacturers and the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) officials. The NPPA had told the medical syringe manufacturers to cut down price or the government will be forced to act.  The issue of overpriced medical consumables got highlighted during the recent Fortis Gurugram incident where a heavily priced bill was slapped on the parents of a girl who died of dengue. The data submitted by the hospital showed that it had charged as high as Rs 70 for a 5ml syringe while the procurement price was just Rs 15. NPPA inquiry into all the medical bills related to the case found several violations by the hospital.

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