In three years, will there be indigenous, affordable heart stents?

NEW DELHI: In May, trials for India’s very own desi drug eluting stent (DES) will begin on large animals. The schedule states that human trials will begin in another year. In another three years, India will get its cheap cost stent if the stent is “effective and safe for human use.” To aid in preventing the development of scar tissues in the artery lining, DES are coated with medicine that is gradually released. A drug eluting stent currently costs well over Rs 1.25 lakh, but the one being developed under CSIR’s New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NTMLI) may cost as little as Rs 40,000 while also being the most cutting-edge in its design. This helps the artery remain smooth and open for good blood flow to the heart. The chief clinical coordinator of the project, Dr. Ashok Seth of Escorts Heart Research Institute, told TOI, “We have already created the platform by designing an all-new basic metal stent, on which we will put the drug and test it on animals.” Dr. Seth is also the president-elect of the Cardiology Society of India. Currently, the majority of a stent’s cost is what companies spend on its research. According to Dr. Seth, the cost of producing a stent is less than $100, yet patients must pay between $1,700 and $2,500 to receive one. “Our stent aims to cost less than one-fifth of what DES costs now,” he continued, “and should be available in three years after it has undergone thorough testing and been shown to be safe and effective by science.”

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