State hospitals out of bounds for cardiac stent agents

Saturday, 1 October 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Chamodi Gunawardana

The Ministry of Health will take steps to remove all cardiac stent sales representatives operating inside state hospitals following the Government’s decision to provide stents free of charge to patients.

The Ministry will appoint special inspectors to ensure these sales persons are kept out of angiogram labs, Director Medical Services Dr. Lal Panapitiya told Daily FT yesterday. 

At present the market is monopolised by private importers whose agents operate inside state hospitals and directly approach patients’ families to sell their products. Despite the practice being against Ministry of Health, authorities turned a blinded eye to the issue as the state was unable to provide good quality cardiac stents for patients needing the procedure. 

This situation is set to change as the Government is now able to provide cardiac stents free of charge. The Government has already imported 500 stents spending approximately Rs. 37 m with each stent costing nearly Rs. 75,000. The Medical Service Division of the Health Ministry has already commenced distributing three months worth of stocks to general hospitals in the country where the procedure is available for patients.

Dr. Plilapitiya said that cardiac stent sales will diminish when free stents are made available to patients. 

“There will be no point in trying to sell expensive stents products while the Government is providing them free”, he said.