Prices of 11 more drugs reined in

Prices of 11 more drugs reined in

New Delhi: Calling a more than 20% hike in their prices in a year “unjustified and against public interest", the Union government has extended the price control umbrella to 11 drugs of top pharmaceutical companies.

Drug makers such as Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd and six others will be affected by this decision.

The government’s drug price watchdog National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has given drug makers as well as marketers just 15 days to comply with the revised price caps on a bunch of drugs used to treat blood pressure, allergy, intestinal infection and erectile dysfunction. These include GlaxoSmithKline’s Vozet and Tenovate GN cream, Dr Reddy’s Relent, Ranbaxy’s Caverta 500mg and Cilanem 500mg and Lupin’s Ramistar-A, among others. The price caps were notified on Monday.

These drugs fall outside the bunch of 74 ‘bulk drugs’ and their formulations that are put under price control by law. Price caps have been imposed on these ‘non-scheduled drugs’ under a special provision, para 10(b) of Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995, that allows the government to do so for any drug. The NPPA has capped prices on nine other drugs in recent months.

Trade body Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance’s secretary-general D.G. Shah said the decision would only widen the differences between the industry and the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers. “There is a deep divide betrween the industry and the ministry right now and there is a need for confidence building measures," he said. Calls to NPPA chairman Ashok Kumar for comment were not returned.