Cardiac procedures costlier in India

In a comparison of costs of cardiac treatment across 7 Asian countries has revealed that most procedures were more expensive in India than in South Korea, a country with a per capita income five and a half times as high as India’s. The cost data is in PPP (purchasing power parity) dollars, which values currencies against each other based on what they can actually buy in their own markets rather than on the official exchange rate. In India, the study covered some 50 hospitals – mostly private, but a handful of them were government run – across major cities. The average cost of a procedure is the figure taken into account. At the time of the study, 2011 to 2014, India had the highest cost of angioplasty other than in Singapore, but that was before the prices of cardiac stents were capped by the pharmaceutical pricing regulator in 2017. The cost of most procedures in India was cheaper than in China or Thailand but more expensive than in South Korea and Vietnam. China and Thailand have per capita incomes about two and a half times that of India. South Korea’s per capita income is 5.4 times India’s while Vietnam’s is almost equal to India’s. Thus, barring Vietnam, most of the countries being compared are much more affluent than India. Yet, the cost of most procedures in China is just 13-25% more than in India. Vietnam, where only 6% of health facilities are privately owned, had the cheapest rates for all procedures barring bypass, which was slightly cheaper in India and much more so in South Korea. The study, published in journal BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, compared costs for ECGs, cardiac markers, echocardiography, angiography, angioplasty with one drug eluting stent, angioplasty with a bare metal stent, heart bypass surgery and one day’s stay in a cardiac ICU.

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