NEW DELHI: The government has decided to regulate more than 350 drug formulations, which are sold at the companies’ own discretion. This will bring down prices of drugs, which fall under the National List of Essential Medicines by up to 80%.
These 350 formulations are used to make around 500 drugs, including polio drops, glucose, plasma sachets, hormonal injections and multivitamins.
So far 305 formulations have come under price control, out of 799. For 350-odd formulations the government did not have market data. Formulations are used to make drugs: for instance, paracetamol is used to make Crocin.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had written to the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) in April to amend the Drug Pricing Control Order.
“We have suggested the DoP to use institutional (hospitals) procurement data to fix prices of formulations, whose price information is missing or unavailable in the market or with respective companies,” said Bhupendra Singh, chairman, NPPA.
The government suggested the DoP collect invoices from government hospitals, and based on that, fix prices for formulations. “By doing so, we can bring the prices under control,” Singh said.
In the past, the regulator has sought advice from various stakeholders, including state governments, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGA), state drug controllers, and companies that track pharma prices. But so far it has been unsuccessful.
Singh hopes that once the price is regulated, it will allow hospitals to procure drugs are a cheaper and more controlled price, something that hospitals have been struggling with for years.
Some of the drugs made from these formulations are used for the treatment of critical illnesses, including tuberculosis, cardiac conditions and anemia, and surgical procedures, such as, testosterone injections, local anesthetics, dialysis solutions, and water for injections.