Essential medicines to become costlier as drug companies allowed price hike


Image Source : FREEPIK Essential medicines to become costlier as drug companies allowed price hike

Medicine price hike news: Starting in April, consumers in India will face higher prices for essential medicines, including painkillers, anti-infectives, cardiac drugs, and antibiotics. Government has allowed drug companies to increase prices in line with the change in the annual Wholesale Price Index (WPI). The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the drug prices regulator, revealed that the annual change in WPI, as notified by the government, was 12.12% in 2022. 

NPPA announced on Monday that the prices of 384 scheduled drugs, which correspond to nearly 900 formulations across 27 therapies, are expected to increase by more than 12%. For the second consecutive year, the increase in prices of essential medicines is higher than the limit allowed for non-scheduled drugs. Scheduled drugs are part of the national list of essential medicines, with their prices regulated by the NPPA, while non-scheduled drugs, which are outside price control, are allowed an annual increase of 10%. In 2021, the hike in prices of non-scheduled drugs was over 10%, in line with the change in WPI.

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In previous years, the increase in drug prices due to the annual change in WPI has been minimal, usually between 1% and 2%. However, this year’s increase is expected to be more significant, with the NPPA planning to notify the ceiling prices of the scheduled formulations in the coming days.

The news of price hikes will likely be welcome to the pharmaceutical industry, which has been grappling with rising manufacturing costs due to various factors such as higher prices of raw materials like active pharmaceutical ingredients, increased freight costs, and a surge in plastics and packaging material costs during the pandemic.

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An industry expert stated that the pharmaceutical industry will feel a sense of relief once the new prices are notified. The industry has been grappling with a rise in costs due to imported raw materials and excipients in some drugs. 

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