Policy

Prices of 12 essential drugs hiked by 50%

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 13, 2019 Published on December 13, 2019

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Pricing watchdog NPPA says move will ensure availability of drugs

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has hiked the ceiling price of 12 essential drugs by 50 per cent. The pricing watchdog, in a notification released on Friday, said that this is a one time increase done in public interest to ensure availability of these drugs.

The NPPA also said that had the prices not been increased, these drugs would have gone off shelves, and in the absence of alternatives, would have put people into difficulty.

The 12 drugs consist of 21 drug formulations of varying doses — BCG vaccine, Benzathine Benzylpenicillin, Benzypenicillin, Choloroquine, Dapsone, Furosemide, Metronidazole, Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C tablets, Co-trimoxazole, Pheniramine, Prednisolone and Clofazamine.

After the 50 per cent hike, the current ceiling price of BCG vaccine stands at ₹8.75 per dose. A pack of Benzathine Benzylpenicillin powder for injection is ₹17.84. A 50 mg capsule of Clofazamine is now priced at ₹2.13 and a 100 mg capsule is ₹3.63. All the other prices for one tablet or 1 ml oral liquid or injection fall within this range.

The NPPA has stated in the notification that most of these drugs are used as first line of treatment and are crucial to the country’s public health programme.

“Many companies have applied for discontinuation of the product on account of unviability. Further, the mandate of the NPPA is to ensure availability of drugs at affordable prices and it was noted that while ensuring affordability, access cannot be jeopardised and the life saving essential drugs must remain available to the general public at all times. Therefore, the NPPA is of the considered view that unviability of these formulations should not lead to a situation, where these drugs become unavailable in the market and the public is forced to switch to costly alternatives,” it has stated.

The NPPA invoked extra ordinary powers in public interest under para 19 of DPCO 2013 for upward revision of the ceiling prices.

The NPPA had been receiving applications for an upward price revision since the last two years citing various reasons like increase in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients cost, increase in cost of production, exchange rates resulting in unviability in sustainable production and marketing of the drugs.

Published on December 13, 2019
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