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Explainer I How the drug price regulator’s order raising the cap on prices of essential medicines by 10.7% may hit you 

Activists point that as the current drug pricing regime does not cover essential drugs in all their strengths and presentation, patients lose out on many counts

March 28, 2022 / 03:44 PM IST

India’s apex drug pricing regulator last week announced a 10.7 percent change in the prices of essential drugs. The ceiling on the prices of more than 800 drugs under price control will see a sharp increase beginning April 1.

This is the steepest hike in the prices of medicines under the Drug (Price Control) Order, 2013, allowed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority. It is set to directly raise the prices of a large number of medicines and a few medical devices such as coronary stents and knee implants.

The 2013 DPCO governs the prices of 886 drugs and devices in the National List of Essential Medicines, which includes basic medicines such as paracetamol, common antibiotics such as azithromycin and doxycycline, as well as drugs for hypertension, diabetes and COVID-19 among others.

These medicines make up about 18 percent of the total domestic pharma retail market of around Rs 1.5 trillion. Last year, the NPPA had raised prices by nearly 5 percent.