DIABETES, ANTI-FUNGAL DRUGS TO GET CHEAPER

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RETAIL prices of several anti-diabetes and anti-fungal drugs will come down, following cuts in the prices of bulk drugs ‘glipizide’ and ‘tolnaftate’ by drug regulator the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

Bulk drugs, or active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), are key raw materials used in medicines. Medicines for treatment of diabetes and infections will be cheaper by 11% and 39.4%, respectively, due to the cut in bulk drug prices, said an NPPA official, who asked not to be named.

The pricing authority has fixed the price of anti-diabetic drug glipizide at Rs 26,114 per kg and that of anti-fungal drug tolnaftate at Rs 2,500 per kg. “We have verified raw material costs and revised prices based on that,” said the official.

Mumbai-based USV India is the major manufacturer of anti-diabetic medicines based on glipizide and has a marketshare of more than 80% in this segment. Similarly, Fulford, the Indian subsidiary of US-based Schering-Plough, is the marketleader in anti-fungal drugs based on tolnaftate.

The drug regulator has also increased the prices of two bulk drugs—anti-bacterial drug ‘iodochlorohydroxyquinoline’ (ICHQ) and antibiotic ‘rifampicin’ used in treatment of tuberculosis and leprosy—following requests from several companies.

“There were several applications for a price increase pending with us. After verifying the cost details provided by the companies, we have increased the prices of the two bulk drugs,” the official said. The price increase is in the range of 9-18%. Lupin and Sandoz are the major manufacturers of antibiotic rifampicin.

NPPA has fixed the prices of these drugs in accordance with the provisions of the Drugs Prices Control Order (DPCO), and formulators based on these drugs will have to follow its provisions. As per NPPA guidelines, the prices fixed would become effective within 15 days from the date of notification.

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