The central government has asked the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to consider the price data of popular anti-fungal skin cream Itch Guard and then re-fix the ceiling price on it. The new ceiling price would also be applicable on other creams belonging to the same drug category — Clotrimazole cream 1 per cent. Reckitt Benckiser, which sells this drug as Itch Guard, had complained to the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP) that its price data was not considered when NPPA calculated the ceiling price on this category of brands. NPPA works under the DOP.
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“NPPA is directed to re-fix the ceiling price of “Clotrimazole Cream 1%” after taking into consideration all data furnished by the petitioner company (Reckitt Benckiser) and for all such products on merit within a period of one month from the date of issue of this order,” said the DOP order dated November 1, 2016. Moreover, the DOP has asked the NPPA to not consider the effect of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) on any drug that had its ceiling price fixed for the first time after April 1, 2016.
On Clotrimazole cream one per cent, the NPPA had issued a price cap order for the first time at May 9, considering the data of other companies such as Bayer Pharma, Sun Pharma, Glenmark Pharma, Novartis India and Cipla, which have been selling it under other brand names.
In June, Reckitt Benckiser had gone to Delhi High Court which had then put on hold the NPPA’s decision to cap the price of this drug. “The impugned order (of NPPA) should be kept in abeyance till the review application filed by petitioner (Reckitt) is decided. A week thereafter (of the decision), the petitioner can move the court if they have any grievances with regard to the findings,” the court said while disposing the company’s plea.
The review application against the NPPA order was filed by the company on June 6. In its application, the company told the government that the price of its product, Itch Guard, was not considered even though it had a “substantial market share of 19.5 per cent” in its drug category.