Pharma firms flouting drugs pricing norms

Pharma firms flouting drugs pricing norms

11:49 AM, 5th November 2015
Pharma firms flouting drugs pricing norms

HYDERABAD, INDIA: Pharma manufacturers and others dealing with sale of bulk drugs are increasingly flouting the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), which makes it mandatory for them to sell essential life saving drugs at an affordable price.

So rampant is the violation that the Telangana Drug Control Authority, in a state-wide raid on retail and bulk pharma outlets and manufacturers, identified 65 instances where the prices charged were found to have exceeded the ceiling fixed by DPCO.

For the record, prices of these essential drugs, totalling 509 are listed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) in a book published by it (titled

‘Compendium of ceiling prices of essential medicines’) in April 2015 and are subject to annual revision. The NPPA is the implementing authority of DPCO in the country.

“We have issued show notices to all the 65 outlets found flouting the DPCO. Those found overpricing the drugs would be penalized, but action would be taken only after they respond to our notices,” said a senior official at Telangana Drug Control Authority.

For instance, the latest DPCO says that 30 ml of Cetirizine syrup (used for treating cold and allergy) should be priced at Rs 17.70. However, the Telangana Drug Control Authority found that retail and wholesale pharma outlets were selling it at Rs 26.

Similarly, 500 mg Ciprofloxacin tablets (used to treat typhoid and respiratory tract infection) has a fixed price of Rs 4 per tablet, but authorities found it being sold at Rs 6.67 per tablet.

However, retail pharmacists maintained that their roles are limited with regard to implementation of DPCO.

“Our role is limited as the maximum retail price (MRP) is printed by the drug manufacturers before they are released into the market. However, we can return the batches of drugs to the manufacturers as and when the DPCO revises the ceiling,” said Dr Surendra Mantena, chief operating officer, MedPlus Health Services, which runs a chain of online pharmacy.

Ch Paramathma, secretary of Telangana pharmacists association, said that no pharmacy outlet can be held guilty for flouting DPCO. “At the most, we can give evidence against the drug manufacturers when enforcement agencies detect violation of DPCO in case of overcharging of essential drugs,” he said.

© Times of India



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