Drug prices set to increase on ‘essential medicines’ list in India

pharmafile | March 23, 2017 | News story | Sales and Marketing Indian 

The annual review of drug prices will see the price of drugs, on the National List of Essential Medicines, increase by just under 2%. The Indian Government has strict measures to control the pricing of drug prices, something that the Indian pharmaceutical industry has found increasingly difficult, with the latest price increases set to bring medicines in-line with inflation.

The exact figure that the prices will be increased by is 1.97186%, which is set by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPAA). The changes are due to come into place on 1 April and will mean that prices reflect the wholesale price index (WPI).  Pharmaceutical companies will have to apply to the NPAA to receive the price increase.

The NPPA released a statement reading: “As confirmed by the Economic Adviser (Ministry of Commerce and Industry), the annual change in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) works out as 1.97186% during the calendar year 2016 over the corresponding period in 2015.”

The National List of Essential Medicines has over 875 drugs, which includes treatments for a wide-range of medicines such as cancer and hepatitis.

Outside of the list of essential medicines, companies’ prices are stringently controlled – with a 10% cap on price increases annually. Over 30% of the pharmaceutical market has prices directly controlled by the Indian government. This method of pricing has led to the prices of certain cancer drugs being slashed by 13-86% in the previous year, amongst other drug price reductions. With the rapid growth of the Indian pharmaceutical industry and the respective power it wields changing in tandem, it remains to be seen whether such control of pricing can remain in place moving into the future.

Ben Hargreaves

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