Friday, May 20, 2016
NPPA decision to cut post-surgical drug prices,big relief for transplant patients
Arnity Homji (57) has a reason to smile. With the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) deciding to slash the prices of immunosuppresive drugs by 50%, she would be saving Rs 10,000 a month.
Immunosuppresive drugs are post-surgical medicines that needed to be taken lifelong by transplant patients to avoid rejection by the organ transplanted. Homji's daughter underwent a heart transplant in 2014 in Chennai and has been on immunosuppresive drugs.
The NPPA, which controls drug prices, has slashed prices of immunosuppresive drugs like Tacrolimus, Mycophenolate and Ciclsosporine last month.
Daara Patel, secretary general of Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association (IDMA), said that the NPPA notification came recently.
"As per the notification, manufacturers have to bring down prices. According to my knowledge, this is for the first time the prices of these drugs have been brought down," said Patel.
Transplant patients spend lakhs of rupees on surgery and end up spending more on post-surgical drugs, he said. "After surgery, it is compulsory that patients take immunosuppresive drugs lifelong. It is good that NPPA has decided to bring the prices of these drugs to a reasonable level," said Patel. On an average, patients spend almost Rs 10,000-15,000 per month on anti-rejection drugs. "Apart from medicines, we have to undergo blood test every month. So, the monthly cost comes to Rs 30,000. Charitable organisations do help with funds during surgery but not after that," said Homji, who lives in Bandra.
Parents of Dhruv Ranalkar (8), who underwent a kidney transplant at PD Hinduja hospital recently, said that they spend Rs 12,000 on anti-rejection drugs. "The decision will help save money. I am the only breadwinner in the family," said Dhananjay, who works in a private firm in Nashik.
Renowned cardiologist from Mumbai said "This move by the NPPA will go a long way as organ transplant patients have no choice but to take medicines. A successful organ transplant depends on the patient complying to immunosuppressive drugs."
In a heart transplant, patients spend around Rs 20,000-25,000 a month on these drugs for the initial 12 months and Rs 10,000-12,000 a month after that. "For a poor family, spending Rs 20,000-25,000 a month on medicines is a huge thing," said Agarwal.
Dr Ravi Mohanka, chief surgeon and head of the department, liver transplant and hepato-biliary surgery at Global hospitals, said it is a respite to all organ transplant patients.
Heart transplant: Rs 22-30 lakh
A heart recipient has to spend Rs 20,000-25,000 on post-operative care for six months. Lifelong medication costs Rs 10,000-15,000 every month
Kidney transplantation: Rs 4-6 lakh
A kidney recipient has to spend Rs 12,000-15,000 on post-operative care for six months. Lifelong medication costs Rs 10,000 every month.
Liver transplant: Rs 25-30 lakh
A recipient has to spend Rs 10,000-15,000 a month on medications.
Immunosuppressant drugs or anti-rejection medicines suppress or reduce the strength of the body's immune system , thereby lowering the body's ability to reject a transplanted organ such as a liver, heart or kidney.
A transplant patient has to compulsorily take immunosuppressant drugs as the body recognises a transplanted organ as a foreign mass. This triggers a response by the body's immune system to attack it.