New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) As the government capped price for knee implants to make it affordable, orthopaedic surgeons on Thursday called the measure a boon for the poor people, but urged the government to ensure that the quality of implants do not come down along with price.

According to them, many international knee implant manufacturers operating in India may exit the market, similar to what seen when a price ceiling was imposed for cardiac stents.

"Slashing total knee replacement price is good initiative and will be benefical for patients if international companies like Depuy, Smith Nephew, and Stryker also slash their prices and their implants are available at the new government price. Government has to ensure that the quality of knee implants do not go down," said Balvinder Singh, an orthopaedic surgeon with the Jammu and Kashmir Health Services.

Stating that Indian total knee implants manufacturers are almost available at the new prices mentioned in the notification of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), he said that Indian companies are new to the technology while the international knee implant manufacturers have been in the market for over 30-35 years.

The NPPA on Wednesday fixed the price for primary knee replacement of titanium alloy at Rs 38,740 while the price for revision knee replacement of any material was pegged at Rs 62,770. The price for Hi-Flex primary knee replacement was fixed at Rs 25,860 and that of cobalt chromium alloy at Rs 24,090.

Ishwar Bohra, Senior Consultant, Joint Replacement & Arthroscopy Surgeon at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, termed the move a people-friendly effort, which will allow more patients of knee problems to opt for the surgeries, which they may have avoided till now due to the high cost.

He however noted that the quality for revision knee replacement surgeries may get affected as prices for this procedure, which is more complex requiring the surgeon to remove the original implant which would have grown into the existing bone, cannot be fixed as different systems and parts may be required which cannot be predicted before the surgery.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences' Trauma Centre chief and Orthopaedic Department head Rajesh Malhotra, who is among the Indian doctors in India who have performed the highest number of knee replacement surgeries, however declined to comment on the issue.