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THE drug price regulator, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), has revised prices of 285 medicines leading to reduction in prices of 263 medicines. Prices of 22 other medicines have been revised upwardly, an NPPA official said.

He said the exercise would make anti-allergic, antibiotics, multi-vitamins and eye drops cheaper, primarily marketed by companies such as Novartis, Pfizer Products and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The price of a 10-ml vial of an anti-allergen drug by Nicholas Piramal is fixed at Rs 15.94 from around Rs 70.

“The new prices will be effective by the end of the month,” the official, who didn’t wish to be named, said. After revision, a bottle containing 30 tablets of Novartis’ Vitalux Plus TR tablets will cost Rs 291.57 instead of Rs 298.73, he said. Vitalux Plus is a specially-tailored combination of vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy eyes.

Similarly, a strip of 10 tablets of GSK’s antibiotic drug Septra will now cost Rs 11.22 instead of Rs 10.84, whereas a 2-ml vial of Pfizer’s depomedrol 80 mg would now cost Rs 88.79 instead of Rs 88.90, he said.

After an investigation, the authority found industry selling 260 drugs without getting NPPA approval for the retail prices. They are mainly multi-vitamin formulations and antibiotic drug ciprofloxacin. “We slashed prices after receiving several complaints from consumers,” the official said.

The regulator has also asked drug manufacturers to approach it again for price fixation in case of a change in the packaging material used or any special feature claimed.

NPPA directly monitors prices of 74 bulk drugs and their formulations. It also restricts companies from increasing prices of other medicines by more than 10% a year without its approval. Even for fixing prices of new formulations pharmaceutical firms require NPPA’s approval.

The authority has also allowed companies to increase prices of 22 medicines in the range of 2-29%. This includes human insulin, some multi-vitamin syrups and Pfizer’s Medrol and Solu Medrol (tablets and injections).

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