Bihar authorities have blown the lid off a nexus between pharmaceutical professionals and crime syndicates that led to crucial medicines including anti-cancer drugs becoming twenty times costlier than their landing price.
The state drug controller has forwarded a report to the health department and initiated a process to issue show-cause notices to errant firms through their distributors.
The findings also point to serious violations of the government’s drug price control order as well as the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA).
The report, submitted by drug inspector Vikas Shiromani, lays bare the fact that anti-cancer medicines, not mentioned in the list of scheduled drugs, were priced way over their landing cost to a stockist or their carrying and forwarding (C&F) agents.
Most of the nearly 1,100 drugs, mentioned in the inquiry report as being overpriced, belong to branded companies.
“As per the drug price control order, 2013, the government of India has fixed the price of 10 mg Doxorubicin Hydrochloride injection at Rs 216.94. However, one vial of Piglit 20 mg injection, having the same composition, was being sold at an MRP of Rs 9,000, whereas it should not have cost more than Rs 433.88 per vial,” said Shiromani. “Similarly, the landing price at depot of another drug, I-Dox 50mg injection, having the same composition, was Rs 4,313.13 per vial, whereas it should have been sold at 1,084.70 per vial.”
State drug controller Ramesh Kumar said, “On the basis of evidence collected during raids on chemists and druggists stores, we will now write to the Centre for fixing rates of these anti-cancer drugs.”
Kumar said his team had collected purchase and sale documents from drug stores and the price variation was massive.
Since it is the Centre’s mandate to fix rates under the drug price control order and the NPPA, he would now request the department to write to the chemical and fertiliser ministry.
Kumar, however, said that the government has been able to persuade the drug dealers to bring down the rate of about 500 anti-cancer drugs to 25% above the landing price to a stockist.
The exercise, he said, was initiated about three months ago and the report submitted last month.