SC to hear PIL against hike in drug price

The Supreme Court will hear next week a public interest writ petition challenging a circular providing for increase in the prices of life-saving and other essential drugs.

A Bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justices S.A. Bobde and A.M. Sapre told petitioner-advocate M.L. Sharma on Thursday that the PIL would be listed for hearing as expeditiously as possible.

The petitioner said the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had issued a circular on September 22 providing for a hike in the prices of 108 life-saving drugs, resulting in a windfall gain to pharmaceutical companies.

“There are approximately 4.1 crore diabetes patients in India, 5.7 crore people have coronary heart disease, 22 lakh suffer from TB, 11 lakh from cancer, 25 lakh from HIV/AIDS and 6 crore blood pressure patients who are in need of life-saving drugs,” he said.

The petitioner alleged that there was a conspiracy among government officials and pharmaceutical companies for allowing an increase in drug prices. Citing examples of the steep increase in drug prices, he said, “Glivec, an anti-cancer tablet, rose from Rs. 8,500 to Rs. 1.08 lakh; Plavix, a blood pressure/heart ailment tablet rose from Rs. 147 to Rs. 1,615; anti-rabies injection and Kamrab from Rs. 2,670 to Rs. 7,000.” “The government succumbed to pressure from industry lobbies,” he claimed.

The NPPA’s earlier decision to impose price controls had been hotly contested by the industry and as a result the authority had withdrawn guidelines for price control issued under the Drug Prices Control Order, 2013, Mr. Sharma said.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 11:47:18 AM |

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