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Insulin to cost up to 10% more

business Updated: Jul 20, 2012 00:51 IST
Himani Chandna Gurtoo

Insulin shots will pinch diabetics harder, with the country's drug-pricing regulator - National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) - set to allow a price hike of 3-10%.

Popular insulin vials and pens are likely to get costlier within the next two months, NPPA sources told HT.

Of the estimated 60 million diabetics in India, 3 million use insulin every day to control their blood-sugar levels.

As of now, a 10ml insulin pen costs around Rs. 200 and serves a patient's needs for 10-12 days.

Insulin is among the 74 drugs whose prices are controlled by the government.

Its Rs. 700-crore market size mirrors the rising incidence of diabetes in India. Prices were last revised in March by 5-18%.

Patients and doctors are concerned about the hike.

"My insulin product costs Rs. 475 a day. Any increase in prices would be inhuman," said Udesh Babel, a 63-year-old businessman who spends over Rs. 14,000 a month on insulin.

Anoop Misra, head of department (diabetes and metabolic diseases), Fortis Hospitals, said: "In the last five years, diabetes has moved beyond the higher income group to the middle and lower economic strata. A rise in insulin prices would be detrimental as it's a matter of life and death."

NPPA sources linked the price rise to the cost of raw material for domestic insulin products and higher insurance and freight charges for imported drugs.