Centre cancels drug price cap

Centre backs pharma lobby; clips regulator’s powers to cap drug prices
New Delhi: Government has withdrawn National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) powers to cap prices of non-essential drugs in the country. However, according to initial analysis of the NPPA officials the price cap on 108 non-essential drugs, which had triggered protests from industry, will stay as the order is prospectively placed.
But, government can move to remove price cap on these 108 non-essential drugs as it has over-ridding powers. A clarification is likely to emerge in next few days.
NPPA had capped prices of 108 cardiac and diabetes drugs among others on July 10, 2014, which were non-essential drugs in order to make them cheaply available to the general public.
The pharma industry had moved courts challenging NPPA powers to cap the prices on non-essential drugs in the country. The department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers ordered the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to withdraw a guideline under the Drug (Prices Control) Order of 2013 that gave the pricing authority powers to cap prices of non-essential drugs.
“In compliance with the directions received from the government in the department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers. The aforesaid internal guidelines issued by the NPPA on May 29, 2014 under paragraph 19 of DPCO 2013 are hereby withdrawn with immediate effect,” NPPA said in a statement.
The drugs that were covered were Gliclazide, Glimepiride, Sitagliptin, Voglibose, Amlodipine, Telmisartan and Rosuvastatin, Heparin and Ramipril, covering an estimated market of around Rs 5,500 crore.
“These drugs had witnessed a price reduction from 10-15 per cent to as high as 35 per cent, with the average reduction around 12 per cent,” said Angel Broking. Under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013, the government already controls the prices of 348 drugs listed in the national list of essential medicines (NLEM).
( Source : dc correspondent )
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