Life-saving drugs' prices set to fall by up to 80 per cent

Prices of 348 medicines, including life-saving drugs, will be cheaper soon by up to 80 per cent as the new drug price control order(DPCO) has come into effect. Industry experts said the implementation of the new drug policy will lead to slashing of prices of many anti-cancer and anti-infective drugs by 50-80 per cent. 

According to the website of department of pharmaceuticals, the government has notified the drug prices control order (DPCO), 2013, with effect from May 15, replacing the 1995 order. The new order will give power to the national pharmaceutical pricing policy (NPPP) 2012 to regulate prices of 348 essential drugs. 

Drug prices control order, 1995, regulated prices of only 74 bulk drugs. The NPPP 2012 was approved by the Cabinet on November 22, 2012 and later it was notified on December 7, 2012. As per the new drugs policy, all strengths and dosages specified in the national list of essential medicines (NLEM) 2011 will be under price control. 

According to the approved policy, prices of medicines will now be capped by taking simple average of all brands which have more than one per cent market share instead of input costs. The DPCO 2013, issued under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, will lay the framework of the drug policy and mechanism of regulating prices. 

According to it, the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) will be the implementation authority for the new policy and the new DPCO. NPPP-2012 took long to finalize due to differences between ministries of health and chemicals and fertilizers. Other stakeholders, industry and NGOs had also expressed their concerns on the pricing model which was suggested.

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