Soon, you would be able to check maximum retail prices of medicines through a mobile app.
Drug price watchdog, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), is set to launch an Android- and iOS-based mobile application that will help consumer check the prices of life saving, essential medicines, in a move to discourage chemists and companies to overcharge consumer.
By March end pharmaceutical companies owed NPPA dues that exceeded ₹4,551 crore, for overcharging patients. Mumbai-based drug maker Cipla tops the list of defaulters. Overcharging happens when drugmakers sell medicines from pervious batches at old rates even after prices have been revised downwards by the drug price regulator.
“We have already launched the pilot version of app. The full-fledged platform will be launched on August 29 by the minister of chemicals and fertilisers Anant Kumar,” Bhupendra Singh, chairman of NPPA told HT. “The move will help patients to cross-check the prices of medicines and it would discourage companies to overcharge the ignorant patients.”
Developed by National Informatics Centre, the app will allow patients to search for the ceiling price of all medicines under national list of essential medicines (NLEM) on the basis of generic name of medicine and geography from where the patient is making purchase. “As of now, the app only gives ceiling price of medicine but in coming months it would show the MRPs of drugs, brand wise,” Singh said.
“If consumer would find the price mismatch, they can lodge complaint on our website and we will ask our drug controllers to take action.”
The app will soon be aligned with markings on scheduled drugs which would help consumer to search for its prices on the app. “In first phase, the idea is to put logos on scheduled medicines so that consumer would know that it’s prices could be verified.”
Till date, NPPA has reduced the ceiling prices of 428 essential medicines.
Various drug pricing regulatory measures by the government has helped consumers save ₹4,988 crore over the last two years, Rajya Sabha was told on July 28.