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Prices of important drugs may be halved as govt set to notify rate caps

Decision to notify the third lot of essential drugs was taken at a meeting held by NPPA on June 28.

Written by Jayati Ghose | New Delhi | Published: June 29, 2013 2:58:28 am

Some important painkillers,antibiotics and cancer treatment drugs will see over 50% fall in rates as the government is set to notify price caps for 40 essential medicines on Monday.

This will be the third list of price caps announced by

the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the new drug price control order that was enforced last month.

While Cetrizine (10 mg tablet),which is a commonly prescribed anti-allergic medicine,will see its maximum price fall by 50% from R3.7 to R1.81 per tablet,painkiller Diclofenac (50mg tablet) will be cheaper by 53% with companies restricted to selling it at R1.95 per tablet or less.

Carboplatin,which is used to treat ovarian and lung cancer,will see top companies like Dr Reddy’s,Pfizer and Alkem bring down the rate to R789 (for 150 mg injection) a 56% reduction over the current prices.

Antibiotic amoxicillin/ clavulin acid,which is popularly sold under brand names Augmentin (GSK) or Clavamox (Pfizer),will see price of its 625 mg tablet fall by 53% while its 600 mg injection would be priced 20% lower.

Other drugs that would see price reduction include cancer treating Cisplatin and Cytosine arabinoside,antiseptic Povidone Iodine,anti-anxiety pill Alprazolam,immune stimulant Filgrastim and Enoxaparin which is used to treat blood clots.

According to the new pharma policy,companies selling essential medicines above government-mandated price caps will have to reduce the rates to match the ceiling price while those selling below the cap will not be allowed to hike prices.

Companies will get 45 days from the day of notification of new prices to replace the existing stock with new packs carrying revised MRPs at the chemist level.

The decision to notify the third lot of essential drugs was taken at a meeting held by NPPA on June 28.

“This does not complete the task. After the third list we will still have 300 more medicines for which price caps need to be fixed. We intend to complete the exercise by July end,” CP Singh,chairman of NPPA,told FE. The pricing authority will hold another meeting on July 5 to decide price caps for around 50 more drugs.

The price cap fixing exercise is becoming time consuming as the data provided by research agency IMS Health is incomplete or inaccurate in many cases,added Singh.

Between June 17 and June 24,NPPA notified the prices of 191 drugs,including widely used medicines like anti-depressants,antibiotics,anti-diabetics and cholesterol reducing drugs,in accordance with a market-based pricing formula provided under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013.

In May,the government notified DPCO 2013 to bring down the prices of essential medicines,increase the number of drugs under price control and modify the way prices are regulated in the R73,000-crore domestic pharmaceutical market.

The new pricing order,which is part of the government’s initiative to ensure that critical medicines are within reach of patients,gives teeth to the cabinet-

approved national pharma pricing policy and puts a price cap on 348 bulk drugs that are sold as 652 medicines (formulations). Until now,only 74 bulk drugs were under price control.

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