New Delhi: The drug pricing system in India likely to revamp before the end of this month. Among the changes proposed by the government is the move to introduce a new price index for pharmaceutical products that will become the benchmark to determine prices of all medicines sold in the country even those that are currently outside the drug price control order.
Even now, the government loosely regulates prices of all medicines in public interest. Prices of around 850 essential drugs are capped by the government. The drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) revises these prices annually based on the wholesale price index (WPI). For all other medicines, companies are allowed to raise prices by no more than 10% in a year.
Under the proposed mechanism, the Centre plans to link prices of all medicines with the new pharmaceutical index. Drug makers will be allowed to revise prices annually only on the basis of movement in the index, sources said.
“The proposal is in its final stages and is likely to be notified by the department of pharmaceuticals in June itself,” a government official told TOI. The proposed index will not only replace the WPI for revising prices of scheduled or price-controlled drugs, it will be used to regulate prices of non-scheduled medicines.
The proposal is part of the recommendations made by the government think-tank Niti Aayog for making changes to the Drug Price Control Order, 2013.