The Department of Pharmaceuticals will seek views from stakeholders on how patented drugs must be priced in the country and will put up draft guidelines in public domain by next week, a senior official said today.

“A draft note on pricing mechanism for patented drugs will be put in public domain by next week,” Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) Secretary D.S Kalha told reporters on the sidelines of Pharma Tech India 2012 here.

He said similar to what the department had done with the draft Pharma Pricing Policy of Nov 2011; stakeholders would have the chance to express their views and would get a month’s time to do so.

At present, there is no system of price negotiation for patented drugs in the country. Under the provisions of the Drugs Price Control Order, 1995, the prices of only 74 bulk drugs and formulations containing any of these scheduled drugs are controlled.

The Government can, however, dictate prices of patented drugs in rare circumstances by invoking compulsory licensing.

For instance, in March this year, India Patents Office had invoked the provision permitting Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma to manufacture and sell cancer-treatment drug Nexavar at a price, over 30 times lower than charged by its patent-holder Bayer Corporation.

When asked about the developments in the pharma pricing policy, he said the group of ministers headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar would meet next week.

“GoM on pharma pricing policy will be meeting sometime in the third week of September,” he said, adding the pricing mechanism of patented drugs “is not a part of the agenda before the GoM“.

The GoM, which last met in May this year, is looking into issues related to regulating prices of 348 drugs. It is examining a draft policy proposing a pricing model that leaves scope to the industry for fixing the rate, subject to a maximum ceiling.

The proposal is, however, facing opposition from NGOs and the Health Ministry, which maintained the move would lead to increase in prices of essential drugs.

(This article was published on September 14, 2012)
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