In a move that would make some commonly used cancer drugs, anti-retrovirals and medicines to treat malaria cheaper by up to 45 per cent, the central drug regulator has capped prices of 22 essential medicines with immediate effect.
The price cap announced by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) would bring down maximum retail price (MRP) of these medicines down by 10-45%. It is likely to impact prices of nearly 220 medicine brands containing 22 formulations.
For instance, price of 1ml Doxorubicin HCl Pegylated Liposomal Injection – used in treatment of different types of cancer, including blood, breast, stomach, lungs, ovaries and kidneys – has been fixed at Rs 723.93, whereas a pack of Zoledronic Acid infusion – used with cancer chemotherapy to treat bone problems – will now cost Rs 3609.13. “The average price reduction on these drugs would be at least 25% after the latest order,” a senior official told TOI.
The federal regulator has notified the new prices with immediate effect. “In case the retail price of any of the aforesaid formulations is not complied with, as per instant price notification and notes specified, the manufacturer marketing company concerned shall be liable to deposit the overcharged amount along with the interest thereon under the provisions of the DPCO, 2013 read with the Essential Commodities Act, 1955,” the notification said. According to NPPA Chairman Bhupendra Singh, the price revisions are based on the changes made in the National List of Essential Medicines, 2015 – which expanded the span of price control. Of the 799 medicines listed under the new NLEM, the regulator has so far capped prices of 450 medicines.
The regulator caps prices of essential drugs at the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1%. With the growing burden of non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disorders, the government has taken several steps recently to bring down prices of such medicines which are widely used for treatment.
Currently, around 20% of the over Rs 1 lakh crore domestic pharmaceutical market is under price control.
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