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Govt brings 42 non-scheduled cancer drugs under price control, trade margin capped at 30 per cent

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 21:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Central government has decided to bring 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer medications under price control by capping their trade margin at 30 per cent. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has invoked extraordinary powers in public interest under Para 19 of the Drug Price Control Order of 2013 to cap the prices of these non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs.

As many as 57 anti-cancer drugs are already under price control as scheduled formulations.  Forty-two non-scheduled anti-cancer medicines have now been selected for price regulation by restricting trade margin on the maximum retail price (MRP) up to 30 per cent. These would cover 72 formulations and 355 brands as per data available with the NPPA.  More data is being collected from hospitals and manufacturers to finalise the list.  

The manufacturers have been given seven days to recalculate the prices and inform the NPPA, state drug controllers, stockists and retailers.  The revised prices shall come into effect from March 8, 2019.

As per data available with the NPPA, the MRP for 105 brands will be reduced by up to 85 per cent. This would provide a saving of minimum Rs105 crore to consumers. 

According to a statement issued by the regulator, the current intervention is being undertaken as pilot for ‘proof of concept’ for trade margin rationalisation.

The NPPA currently fixes prices of drugs placed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under Schedule-I of the DPCO. So far, around 1000 drugs have been price capped through this modality. The regulator ensures that the annual price increase in respect of scheduled formulations is not more than Wholesale Price Index.

Additionally, the NPPA also monitors and ensures that price increase in respect of the non-scheduled drugs is not more than 10 per cent per annum. The scheduled formulations currently under price cap form 16 to 17 per cent of the pharma industry. There has been a long standing demand from consumers and the courts for bringing the remaining segment of non-scheduled drugs under price regulation to save the consumers from arbitrary pricing by the drug manufacturers.


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