India pricing authority caps a further 52 essential drugs

India's National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped prices of a further 52 essential drugs under the Drugs Price Control Order, mainly including antibiotics, pain therapies, as well as medicines used to treat cancer, hypertension and skin disorders, the NPPA said. Drugmakers including Lupin, Cadila Healthcare and Merck KGaA are among those impacted by the latest notice, with companies such as Wockhardt, Abbott and GlaxoSmithKline being also potentially affected.

The value loss will reportedly result in 14 percent of the 1.23 billion Indian Rupees ($19.6 million) total market size for these drugs. In response to the latest order, a Lupin spokesperson said that "though Lupin wouldn't see any impact, we have always maintained that competition is a great leveler and the market finds its own level when it comes to matters such as pricing." Lupin's skin disorder drug clobetavate was fixed under the order.

Angel Broking's vice-president of research Sarabjit Kour Nangra remarked that "not all these medicines are new on the list. They’ve (the Authority) decided to curtail prices of drugs which have higher market share and they believe the prices are not justified." The NPPA had fixed the prices of 53 formulations in August and 43 formulations in September. Meanwhile, NPPA deputy director Naresh Arya noted that the regulator continues to look at other disease areas where drug prices may need to be fixed.

In July, the NPPA introduced price controls for more than 100 therapies used to treat diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, following a previous order establishing price caps for 652 medicines, including 348 drugs named to the national list of essential medicines.

However, in September, the pricing regulator announced that it withdrew guidelines issued in May that allowed for price caps on non-essential medicines, after the Delhi High Court asked drugmakers to meet with the NPPA in an attempt to resolve the issue.

To read more Top Story articles, click here.