Pharma industry seeks hike in medicine prices

Pharma industry seeks hike in medicine prices

Mumbai: Pharma companies have sought a hike in medicine prices and warned of stoppages in manufacturing of medicines under price controls, claiming that repeated pleas for price increases have fallen on deaf ears, a top industry player said.

“There is an urgent need to achieve a balance between product availability, price and quality. Unremunerative and unworkable prices have seen production stoppages. The devaluation of the Indian Rupee has also increased input costs," Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA) President B N Singh said in a statement.

They have appealed to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers to allow them to increase drug prices, claiming that procurement prices of bulk drugs and packaging materials have gone up substantially.

Other factors, which have contributed to this situation, IDMA said, are the high cost of freight and accommodation. “The industry has found it hard to absorb these increases," Singh said, adding that this has led to domestic users paying more for imported inputs.

According to the Association, a substantial quantity of bulk drugs are being imported from China where prices have gone up substantially due to several factors.

The pharma industry has urged the government to pro-actively ease the pressure on it, to ensure that manufacturers are able to continue providing quality medicines to the public.

“Continued production is important. Pending study of individual API cost-escalations, the government should allow an ad hoc price increase of 25% in all APIs in the scheduled category," IDMA Secretary General Daara B Patel said.

“There has to be a price increase of at least 20% in all scheduled formulations to neutralise increased input costs," Patel said.

Never has there been such a steep cost-escalation in such a short period, IDMA said.