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Inflation to drive up drug prices

Inflation is not going to spare even patients as medicines are set to cost 20 per cent more soon, reports Lalatendu Mishra.

business Updated: Jul 24, 2008 20:54 IST
Lalatendu Mishra

Inflation is not going to spare even patients as medicines are set to cost 20 per cent more soon. At a time when prices of essential goods and diagnostic expenses have gone up, the common man is bound to bear the brunt.

The Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), the apex body of pharmaceutical companies, has asked the government to allow its members to increase prices of drugs due to the unexpected rise in raw material and packaging input costs.

“We want at least 20 per cent increase in the prices of decontrolled drugs to neutralise the increase in input costs,” said BN Singh, president, IDMA. “We also want increase in the prices of drugs in the controlled category. Anyway inflation has gone up to 12 per cent and our demand is justified.”

Out of all drugs, 74 are categorised as controlled products and government strictly monitors their prices for the common benefit of citizens.

“Prices of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) have gone up by 40 per cent,” Singh said. “Transportation and packaging raw material (aluminum foil, paper, plastic) costs have gone up sharply over the last few months and we are in no position to absorb the additional financial burden.”

Though the devaluation of rupee against the US dollar has benefited exporters, it is hurting domestic producers who import inputs to produce formulations. Drug and pharmaceutical product manufacturers said that they would be forced to stop production in case the government would not consider their plea.