Random decisions in pharma pricing bad for India’s health
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
On July 10, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) arbitrarily fixed prices for all anti-diabetic and cardiovascular drugs outside the scope of the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013, with no warning to manufacturers.
This action transgressed the mandate of DPCO 2013, which addressed pharmaceutical pricing based on the ’essentiality’ criteria and clearly stated that the “intention of the policy is to bring essential medicines under price control and not to control the Indian pharmaceutical industry” — a position that has been enunciated by the Department of Pharmaceuticals in an affidavit before the Supreme Court. The drug pricing regulator invoked paragraph 19 of the DPCO 2013 which authorises it “in case of extraordinary circumstances” to fix the ceiling price or retail price of any drug in public interest “for such period” as it deems fit. Clearly, para 19 is a special power to be used only when an extraordinary circumstance arises and for a temporary period of time.
- Health Care