Cancer, diabetes drugs down by 35%
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) the drug price regulator in India slashed prices of drugs used to treat diabetes, cancer, asthma and other common ailments. New drugs have been brought under price control and some already on the price control list were further reduced. The price reduction is in range of nominal 5% and a massive 35%.
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) determines and monitors the rates of drug prices which are under the purview of the National List of Essential Medicine. The NPPA is an independent regulator of prices in the pharmaceutical sector.
NPPA to be abolished?
Last month, the government reportedly held a closed door meeting to discuss dismantling of the NPAA. It's believed that the government is keen to remove hurdles for companies operating in the pharma sector and increase 'ease of business'. Organizations and civil activists accused the government of playing with lives of millions by this ginormous step without public consultation.
NPAA's price cap mechanism futile?
The efficacy of NPAA's role in keeping prices of essential medicines in control has been questioned. Healthcare activists allege NPPA policies encourage companies to artificially keep prices high. Data shows hepatitis and cancer drugs, even when under price-control, were only marginally cheaper than corporate prices. NPAA's attempts to regulate/fix prices haven't succeeded due to market dynamics and limited competition.
Huge savings due to reduced prices
Since March this year, the NPPA has fixed a ceiling price on 540 essential medicines. According to the government this has resulted in effective savings of nearly. Rs 3,000 crore.
Impact of drug regulator's decision
The decision by the NPPA will significantly impact the pharma sector. Pharmaceutical companies that don't comply with price caps will be liable for a penalty for overcharging under the 'Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The decision is crucial given that the government wants to bring in leniency in drug price control as pharma-companies are unhappy with the 'stifling price regime'.