October 07, 2008

Drug authority caps prices of 79 medicines

In an attempt to ensure uniformity in prices of commonly used medicines like multivitamins, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has fixed ceiling prices of 79 medicines.

The move is based on the observations by the recently-constituted medicine price monitoring division of the authority. All companies, including small-scale units that are exempted from price fixing by the NPPA, will have to abide by the ceiling prices. Several multivitamin capsules and syrups, eye-drops, and antibiotics like gentamycin have been covered under the price ceiling, notified on October 1.

The price monitoring division of the NPPA has been assigned the task of routinely scanning all publically available price data.

In separate notifications issued the same day, the NPPA carried out upward price revisions in the range of 1-18 per cent for another 33 medicines. Wockhardt, Pfizer and Aventis are among the companies whose products like insulin could fetch more prices now. In case of 11 medicines, the authority announced price cuts in the range of 1-10 per cent. Eli Lilly’s four products and Shreya Life Science’s three — all insulins — will see a minor price reduction due to the NPPA’s decision. However, Eli Lilly has been granted higher prices for another five insulin products.

Dettol antiseptic lotion, the flagship product of Reckitt Benckiser, is another product that has seen a price revision. The NPPA, which had fixed the prices of four different sizes of dettol bottles early this year, extended its regulatory grip over five more dettol bottles. In the case of dettol, which enjoys over 80 per cent of Indian antiseptic lotion market share, the price variation is less than 2 per cent.

This is the seventh such exercise undertaken by the NPPA during the year. The previous price revision, notified on August 6, affected the prices of 188 medicine packs. On the whole, the authority has fixed or revised prices of over 2,000 medicine packs in the current year.

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