Inflation has hit the healthcare system very hard with prices of 800 essential medicines including insulin rising by 10.76 percent.
Some of the medicines that have become costlier include paracetamol, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin hydrochloride, and insulin.
“Based on the WPI (Wholesale Price Index) data provided by the office of the Economic Advisor, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the annual change in WPI works out as 10.76607 percent during the calendar year 2021 over the corresponding period in 2020,” the NPPA notice said.
Following this, the prices of over 800 scheduled medicines on the National List of Essential Medicines, used to treat fever, infections, skin diseases, high blood pressure, anemia, and heart diseases, are expected to rise 10.7 percent from April 1.
“This is brought to the notice of all concerned for further action as per the provisions of Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013,” it added. The Authority announces the change in WPI every year, by The Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013, or DPCO, 2013.
The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), for which the NPPA is empowered to fix the ceiling price, includes common drugs and medical devices such as paracetamol tablets, azithromycin tablets, oral rehydration salts, glucose injections, and contraceptives like copper IUDs and condoms. It also contains insulin injections, Vitamin C tablets, and multivitamin tablets.
Last year, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority had announced an increase of 0.53 percent in the Wholesale Price Index, as compared with 1.88 percent in 2020. In 2019 and 2018, it was 4.26 percent and 3.43 percent, respectively.
In October 2021, the drug price regulator had fixed the ceiling prices for 12 anti-diabetic generic medicines, including glimepiride tablets, glucose injections, and intermediate-acting insulin solution.
“To make it possible for every Indian to afford medical treatment against diseases like diabetes, NPPA has initiated a successful step by fixing the ceiling prices of 12 anti-diabetic generic medicines,” NPPA tweeted
As part of this, the ceiling price of metformin immediate-release tablet of the strength of 500 mg was fixed at Rs 1.51 per tablet, while that of 750 mg strength is at Rs 3.05 per tablet and 1,000 mg strength at Rs 3.61 per tablet.
For metformin control release tablet of strength 1000 mg, the ceiling price was fixed at Rs 3.66 per tablet, said the NPPA. It added that the same for 750 mg strength was capped at Rs 2.4 per tablet and Rs 1.92 per tablet for metformin control release tablet of strength 500 mg.
The price for a glimepiride tablet of strength 1 mg was fixed at Rs 3.6 per tablet, while that for 2 mg is Rs 5.72 per tablet.