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Economy

How not to fix private health care in India

Price caps on medical devices will not stop overcharging and may hit supplies

| India

The Indian government is moving toward a cap on the prices of widely used medical devices as a way of preventing overcharging by private hospitals, an important part of the national health system. But price controls are unlikely to resolve the problem, and could damage the struggling health sector by reducing supplies.

After capping the prices of coronary stents in February, New Delhi followed up by reclassifying a wide range of other devices as drugs, including balloon catheters, syringes, heart valves and orthopedic implants, as a first step toward controlling retail prices. On Aug. 16 the retail price of orthopedic implants was cut by 65%.

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