Drug Pricing Current Affairs - 2019

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NPPA reduces Prices of 9 Non-Scheduled Cancer Drugs by 87%

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has reduced the prices of 9 non-scheduled cancer drugs by up to 87%. This decision is in continuation of nodal agency’s efforts to bring down drugs prices.

Key Facts

  • Reason: In February 2019, the government had capped about 42 cancer drugs at 30%. This new anti-cancer non-scheduled medicine list is in continuation of efforts to curb profiteering on these vital drugs and to make cure of cancer affordable for patients as well as for their families.
  • Significance: More than 390 brands and about 72 formulations have reduced costs following the NPPA order. This price reduction is expected to benefit more than 22 lakh cancer patients in India and will result in annual savings of around Rs.800 crore rupees to patients.
  • Details: NPPA, the Drug pricing regulator issued an office memorandum which mentioned that:
  • Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of 500 mg chemotherapy injection called ‘pemetrexed’ which is used to treat lung cancer, has been reduced from Rs.22000 to Rs.2800.
  • MRP of 150 mg ‘Erlotinib’ tablets will now cost Rs.2400 instead of Rs.8800.
  • NPPA has also approved a formula which restricts trade margin of selling price by up to 30%.

About NPPA

  • It was established by a Government of India Resolution in 1997. It is an office attached to Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • Function: It is an independent Regulator for pricing of drugs. Ito ensures accessibility and availability of medicines to people at affordable prices.
  • The NPPA currently fixes price of drugs on National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under schedule-I of Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO). Till date about 1,000 drugs have been price-capped by this mode.

NPPA fixes retail price of 30 drug formulations

Drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has fixed retail price for 30 drug formulations, including those used for treatment of diabetes, bacterial infections and high blood pressure. The prices were fixed/revised under Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO), 2013.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

NPPA is independent body under Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. It was set up in 1997. Its mandate is to fix/revise controlled bulk drugs prices and formulations, enforce prices and availability of medicines under DPCO, 2013. It also monitors prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels. The regulator implements and enforces the provisions of DPCO. It is also entrusted with task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for controlled drugs from consumers.

Essential medicines

Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the country’s population. They are listed with reference to the levels of healthcare namely primary, secondary and tertiary. They are generally based on the country’s disease burden, priority health concerns, affordability concerns etc.

In India, National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) formed in 2011 decides the essential medicines. The list is prepared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. NPPA fixes ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I under DPCO 2013.

The calculation for essential drugs is based on simple average of all medicines in particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1%. In respect of medicines that are not under price control, manufacturers are allowed to increase the maximum retail price by 10% annually.