THE countryâ€™s top drug price regulator has reworked the prices of 184 bulk drugs, thus making 77 medicines more affordable, and brought in another 71 under its purview.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which fixes the prices of bulk drugs that go into the making of essential medicines to ensure that they stay within the reach of the common man, also hiked the prices of 36 medicines.
â€œWhile some of the prices are reduced suo moto, based on the reduction in their bulk drug prices, prices of some were revised based on the applications received from drug companies asking for a price revision,â€ an NPPA official said.
Among the medicines that have become cheaper include those used in the treatment of arthritis, eye ailments, diabetes and infections, and some antibiotics, primarily marketed by companies such as Pfizer and Novartis.
The price reduction is in the range of 0.41-34.38%. For instance, the price of a 2-ml vial of Pfizerâ€™s Medrol 80-mg, a steroid used for treatment of arthritis, will now cost Rs 75.76 instead of Rs 88. 79. A 30-ml bottle of Novartisâ€™ Vitalux TR tablets will now cost Rs 262.53 instead of Rs 304.76. Vitalux TR is a specially tailored combination of vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy eyes.
NPPA fixes the prices of 74 bulk drugs, used to manufacture essential medicines, and revise their prices periodically based on a cost study. Prices of all medicines containing one or more of these bulk drugs are also directly controlled by the pricing authority. However, companies manufacturing any other medicines can increase the price of their drug by 10% annually.
The latest price revision by NPPA also includes medicines that were being sold in the market without a price approval, the official said. The regulator has caught such price violations, calculated their cost of production and fixed the prices at which they should be sold henceforth. After this, selling these 71 medicines above the government-fixed price would make the producers liable for punishment.
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