NPPA uses emergency powers to hike critical blood thinning drug price by 50%

  • The regulator cited shortages of the drug in India and rising costs of raw materials imported from China as reasons for increasing the ceiling price using emergency powers under Paragraph 19 of the Drug (Price Control) Order

Leroy Leo
Updated2 Jul 2020, 04:04 PM IST
The regulator said if prices of the drug are not increased the ongoing shortage of the drug would prolong especially during the current covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
The regulator said if prices of the drug are not increased the ongoing shortage of the drug would prolong especially during the current covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

NEW DELHI: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has used its emergency powers to allow companies to raise the price of heparin, a critical blood thinning drug, by 50% until December end.

The NPPA has now set the ceiling price of 1,000 International Units Per Millilitre (IU/ml) of heparin injection at 24.39 per ml and 5,000 IU/ml of injection at 60.54 per ml.

The pricing regulator cited shortages of the drug in India and rising costs of raw materials imported from China as reasons for increasing the ceiling price using emergency powers under Paragraph 19 of the Drug (Price Control) Order.

“NPPA had received applications from several companies having major market share for upward revision of ceiling prices of heparin injection... citing reasons that the cost of APIs which constitute major portion of the input cost and mainly imported from China, has risen to a considerable extent making the companies entirely unviable to continue manufacture the formulations,” NPPA said in an order dated Tuesday.

Some of the brands of heparin are Hep and Hep-Lock by Gland Pharma, Lofh by Abbott, and Celparin by Celon Laboratories Ltd.

The regulator noted the manufacturers’ concern that over the years the regulated price has decreased while that of the active pharmaceutical ingredients imported from China has consistently increased, which made production of the drug commercially unviable.

The regulator’s decision follows a meeting on 22 June, wherein a committee headed by S. Eswara Reddy, joint drug controller at the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, informed NPPA that there has been an increase of 211% in the price of API for heparin injection when compared to the base year of September 2018.

The regulator said that if prices of the drug are not increased, the ongoing shortage of the drug would prolong, especially during the current covid-19 pandemic.

“The Authority considered the aspect of availability of heparin injection 1000IU/ ml and heparin injection 5000IU/ ml, a scheduled formulation, especially during the pandemic situation of COVID-19 and opined that any situation of non-availability due to increase in the price of API needs to be seen from a public interest perspective,” NPPA said in the minutes of its meeting, a copy of which was reviewed by Mint.

The minutes said the government has also received representations from other companies for increasing prices using emergency powers but did not make the details public.

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First Published:2 Jul 2020, 04:04 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaNPPA uses emergency powers to hike critical blood thinning drug price by 50%

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