Court orders drug cos to maintain status quo on NPPA July 10 notification on price control, case adjourned to Aug 12

Our Bureau, MumbaiSaturday, August 2, 2014, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Bombay High Court has adjourned the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA)'s case against National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to August 12 for bringing 108 drug formulations under price control.  However, the court has asked the drug companies to maintain status quo.

In the case filed last week, the IPA had challenged the national drug price regulator's controversial notification dated July 10 in which the NPPA had brought 108 drug formulations in the diabetes and cardiovascular segments under price control under Paragraph 19 of the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013.

According to sources, the case came up for hearing today in the High  Court, but was adjourned to August 12.  However, the court has asked the drug companies to maintain status quo, which means that the NPPA's notification dated July 10 stands valid till further orders from the court.

In a rather sudden move on July 10, the national drug regulator had brought prices of 108 non-scheduled formulation packs involving the anti-diabetic and cardiovascular drugs under price control under Paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013.  Paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013, authorises the NPPA in extraordinary circumstances, if it considers necessary so to do in public interest, to fix the ceiling price or retail price of any drug for such period as it deems fit.

Since then the drug manufacturers in the country have been up in arms against the NPPA.  The manufacturers termed the NPPA decision as a retrograde move which will adversely affect the growth of the pharma industry in the country.

Meanwhile, by bringing these drugs under price control, the NPPA noted that it is of the considered view that there exist huge inter-brand price differences in branded-generics/off patent drugs, which is indicative of a severe market failure, as different brands of the same drug formulation, including the off patent drug, which are identical to each other in terms of active ingredient(s), strength, dosage, route of administration, quality, product characteristics, and intended use, vary disproportionately in terms of price.