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 medicines used for treating cancer and skin disorders.
The move could dent the turnovers of leading drug companies, including 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% of the R75,000-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% of the market.
Earlier, in September, NPPA had capped the prices of 43 formulation packs including drugs such as antibiotic ciprofloxacin, BCG vaccine and anti-diabetic metformin.
The NPPA is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from consumers. It monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs as well in order to keep them at reasonable levels.
Courtesy: The Financial Times, Price control to cover 52 new drugs, December 13, 2014 12:46 am.