Cancer drug prices slashed

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on May 16, 2019 Published on May 16, 2019

NPPA brings down MRP of medications by up to 60%; R&D cost ignored, says industry

In a major relief for patients, the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of some anti-cancer drugs has been slashed.

According to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), prices of nine non-scheduled anti-cancer medicines have been reduced by 30-60 per cent. This has already come into effect.

Erlotinab, Pemetrexed, Epirubician, Leuprolide acetate and Everolimus are among the drugs whose prices have been slashed.

Most of these are indicated in the treatment of various types of cancers, including breast and prostrate.

Of late, the NPPA has been focussing on reducing the prices of anti-cancer drugs. In March, it brought down the prices of about 380 drugs, some of the cuts going up to 80-90 per cent under trade margin rationalisation.

“This certainly helps the patients. The cost of a drug is escalated by almost up to eight times of the production cost in the supply chain with the middleman pocketing more than the manufacturer. In fact, the price reduction should be applied to all drugs across different brands,’’ Vijay Ananda Reddy, Director, Apollo Cancer Institute, told BusinessLine.

The industry, however, has some reservations on drug price control.

“The reduction of prices as announced by the NPPA only sees margin rationalisation at individual drug level. However, it overlooks the general cost of research and development in the long run,’’ said the Vice-President of a cancer drug-manufacturing firm.

According to data from India Against Cancer, around 2.25 million people are living with the disease. Every year, over 11.50 lakh new cancer patients are registered.

Published on May 16, 2019
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