The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on Friday fixed the ceiling prices of 52 formulation packs, all containing at least one of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) defined in specified dosage forms. The packs that are newly brought under price control include commonly-used antibiotics and painkillers as well as cancer and skin disorder medicines. The move may dent the turnovers of drug firms like Merck, Lupin, Cadila, Torrent Pharma, Alembic, Ajanta Pharma and Panacea Biotec.
The NPPA’s decision doesn’t lead to extension of price controls to control-free (unscheduled) category , as the latest notifications are meant to cover new formulations launched by companies by combining an NLEM drug, which is supposed to be controlled, with another NLEM or non-NLEM drug.
It may be recalled that NPPA’s move to extend price control to non-NLEM drugs was prevented in September by the government.
Citing “public interest” and prevalence of “extraordinary circumstances,” NPPA put price caps on 108 anti-diabetes and cardio-vascular formulations in July. It was forced to rescind the order following the government fiat.
The July order would have expanded the span of price controls to an additional 7 per cent of the Rs 75,000-crore retail pharma market. Since a new DPCO was promulgated last year, NPPA capped prices of 348 “essential drugs” defined in terms of specified strengths, with a share of about 20 per cent of the market.