New Delhi, Mar 29: Essential medicines including painkillers, antibiotics and anti-infectives are set to become costlier by more than 12% from next month. This is the highest annual increase on record in the prices of these medicines.
India’s drug pricing authority on Monday allowed a price hike of 12.1218% from April 1 for scheduled drugs that are under price control. This will cover more than 800 drugs on the National List of Essential Medicines.
Last year, the NPPA allowed a 10.7% increase in drug prices, citing a similar change in the WPI.
Malini Aisola, co-convenor of All India Drugs Action Network (AIDAN) said the latest “massive” hike will distort price controls and hence the government should intervene.
“This (increase) is the highest seen since the DPCO (Drugs [Price Control] Order) 2013 came into force and this is the second year in a row that the WPI is higher than the annual permitted price hike for non-scheduled formulations (10%),” she said.
“Such a drastic hike will distort the price controls in place on essential medicines; the government should intervene in the interest of maintaining the affordability of these drugs. Such high back-to-back price increases are undermining the purpose of price fixation of essential medicines,” she said.
The industry had been demanding a substantial increase in prices as it has been battling rising input costs due to the pandemic.
According to industry experts, over the last two years, the prices of some key active pharmaceutical ingredients have increased significantly.
Earlier, a pharma lobby group that represents more than 1,000 Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers, had urged the government to allow prices of all scheduled formulations to be increased by 10% with immediate effect. It had also sought a 20% increase in the prices of non-scheduled drugs.
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