The number of cardiac patients getting stents in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is far higher than those in North India, courtesy the implementation of state-funded health insurance covers on the lines of Aarogyasri.
This was revealed by top office bearers of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI) at its ongoing midterm national interventional council (NIC) meet in the city on Saturday after analysing data pooled in from 630 cardiac centers in the country .Their data showed that the four South Indian states combined, assisted around 80,000 patients (23%) get free stents out of the total 3.75 lakh patients who underwent angioplasty in 2015.
Health insurance schemes on the lines of Aarogyasri that offer free stents is confined mainly to South Indian states except the lone North Indian state of Rajasthan.
This is a good move as such schemes are making even rural-based cardiac patients gain easy access to better care, said Dr N N Khanna, chairman, CSI’s NIC-2016.
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In fact, he shared how statefunded health insurance schemes has seen a six percent rise in BPL beneficiaries between 2014 and 2015 -from 17% (who got coverage for angioplasty) to 23% .
In Telangana, according to the Claims Data Report-2015 made available by Aarogyasri Health Trust, the state-funded scheme facilitated 9,057 Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients get free stents, including 2,838 patients who got double stents.
The Aarogyasri scheme offers a cap of Rs 85,000 for two drug-eluting (release drugs to prevent blockage in artery) stents.
The CSI’s findings also showed how of the 3.75 lakh patients undergoing angioplasty , 94% opted for drug eluting stents while the remaining 6% preferred cheaper bare-metal stents (do not release drugs).
Their data, shockingly , also highlighted how 10% of the patients who underwent angioplasty last year were below 40 years of age, a percentage considered very high for such young age when compared to global standards.
The bulk of 75% angioplasty patients were between 40 to 70 years , while 15% were above 70 years.
Soon, Dr S Guha, CSI, national president, said that cardiac patients could get some good news as the Union health ministry is planning to bring about uniformity in pricing of stents in the country.
There were instances in the past when a stent manufacturer indulged in unfair trade practices and was found to be selling the product in India at a higher price than it was being offered in other countries, said Dr Guha, adding that the problem will be solved once stents are listed as an essential drug by the government and its MRP is fixed.
According to sources, some corporate hospitals in the city too benefit from the lack of uniformity in prices of imported stents as no two hospitals charge a common rate even though both buy them from a single manufacturer.