NPPA Current Affairs - 2020

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GoI invokes DPCO, 2013 for the first time

On December 13, 2019, the Government of India for the first-time invoked Drug Price Control Order, 2013 in order to increase the prices of 21 medicines to ensure their availability. The prices were increased by 50%. These medicines were under price regulation as majority of their ingredients were imported from China.

Background of the issue

In the past two years, pharma industry was complaining over the price rise of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). The prices have gone up by 5% to 88%. These ingredients constitute 40% to 80% of formulation cost. However, due to price ceiling of GoI, the sales of these products in the country got affected greatly as the pharmaceuticals hesitated to sell or manufacture these products.

Highlights

The price rise has been done on 21 key formulations namely BCG vaccines, malaria, penicillin, leprosy medicine, common antibiotics, anti-allergy medicines, life saving drugs like Furosemide. In January 2019, NPPA (National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority) received 49 application for 72 drugs. It was referred to Standing Committee on Affordable Medicines and Health Products (SCAMHP), NITI Aayog. The SCAMPH recommended that there is a need for one-time hike in prices in these formulations by 50%.

Legislation

Paragraph 19 of the DPCO 2013 deals with increase or decrease in drug prices under extraordinary circumstances. The prices have been increased under this legislation.

 

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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.

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