Government allows 50% hike in prices of 21 widely used pharma items

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MUMBAI: Prices of widely used medicines—key antibiotics, anti-allergics, anti-malarial drugs, BCG vaccine

 and Vitamin C—will increase soon.

Invoking for the first time a provision “in public interest”, the drug prices regulator NPPA on Friday revised prices of 21 formulations, allowing a one-time increase of 50% from the existing ceiling price.

The decision, “in exercise of extraordinary powers in public interest” under paragraph 19 of the Drugs Prices Control Order, 2013, has been taken to ensure their availability, official sources say. Till now, this provision has only been used to reduce prices, for example, to bring cardiac stents and orthopaedic implants under price control.

‘Exceptional step to ensure availability’

The NPPA’s move is in response to the pharma industry’s requests over the last two years to allow upward revision in prices. The industry had sought a hike in the wake of rising prices of active pharmaceutical ingredients (raw materials), and fluctuation in exchange rates, resulting in “unviable and unsustainable production’’.

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