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Govt cannot cap condom prices: Delhi High Court

The court has held that the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority had “exceeded the powers” conferred on it by the Drug Pricing Control Order 2013 by fixing ceiling prices of condoms.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi |
Updated: October 21, 2017 9:07:06 am
condom, condom price, condom price cap, delhi high court, high court, drugs and cosmetics act, delhi news, india news Ceiling price of condoms can be fixed only for scheduled formulations of specified strengths and dosages as specified under the First Schedule. (File photo)

In a relief to luxury condom manufacturers, the Delhi High Court in a judgment issued Friday held that though condoms fall within the definition of “drugs” under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, and are “essential medicines”, the government cannot fix ceiling prices as there is no specified strength or dosage for their formulation.

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“Ceiling price can be fixed only for scheduled formulations of specified strengths and dosages as specified under the First Schedule. Therefore, according to us, the provisions of Para 4 cannot be made applicable to condoms, the dosage and strength of which have admittedly not been specified under the First Schedule,” held the court of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw. The court has held that the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority had “exceeded the powers” conferred on it by the Drug Pricing Control Order 2013 by fixing ceiling prices of condoms.

However, the bench, in a 67-page judgment, noted that condoms were “rightly considered as Essential Medicines and are included in the National List of Essential Medicians to ensure affordable healthcare to a majority of population and also to improve accessibility of drugs for anti-HIV etc through special assistance scheme,” since they were just used as contraceptives, but also for protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

Reckitt Benckiser, which manufactures condoms under the “Durex” and “Kohinoor” brands and JK Ansell, which manufactures “Kamasutra” had challenged an order issued by NPPA, fixing the per unit price of condoms to less than Rs 7 per unit. The court had initially asked the companies to approach the government for a price review, but took up the case when the companies filed fresh pleas after the government raised the ceiling price by only one rupee per unit.

 

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