The Maharashtra State FDA is investigating reports that medical device companies, including U.S.-based Medtronic and Abbott Vascular Devices, are looking the other way when their Indian distributors hike prices and bribe doctors to use their drug-eluting stents.
According to The Times of India, drug eluting stents are sold at triple the price at which they are imported. One of the examples cited in the Maharashtra FDA report is of devices manufactured by Medtronic Inc, imported into India by Medtronic Pvt Ltd at $507 and sold to the distributor Bhalani Biomedicals Pvt Ltd for $1102. Bhalani then sold the DES to hospitals for $1645.
The extra money that the distributors get is later used to bribe doctors so that the hospitals only use their companies' devices in the future, The Times of India reported.
International Business Times of India reports that the Maharashtra FDA has lobbied to bring medical devices under cost-control measures, but the agency has reportedly not had any productive response to an investigation submitted last year to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.