National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority to monitor yearly price movement

NEW DELHI: The Central Government has empowered drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to take action against pharma companies which increase prices of products by more than 10 per cent in a year.

The Department of Chemicals has asked the NPPA to keep track of all the non-scheduled drugs, whose prices have gone up by more than 10 per cent in a year and take regulatory action against those companies that do not comply with these norms, an official release said.

The pharma industry at present is free to increase the prices of non-scheduled medicines (drugs whose prices are not fixed by the government) by up to 20 per cent in a year.

As per the new guidelines, the drugs whose prices would be monitored should have an annual turnover of more than Rs. 1 crore and it should be one of the top three medicines in that group. If the authority detects any violation, it would issue notices seeking reasons for the price hike.

Alternatively, the manufacturer would be asked to bring down the prices voluntarily and thereafter, to maintain the price level.

``The NPPA will initiate action against those who do not comply with the internal guidelines or directions for monitoring of prices of non-scheduled formulations and will be liable for action,'' the release said.

The Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 1995, administered by the NPPA, calls for price intervention on such non-scheduled drugs in public interest (in the eventuality of an abnormal price hike). PTI