Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by The Health Master
Prices of essential medicines including painkillers, anti-infectives, cardiac and antibiotics could go up marginally from April, with the government allowing drug makers an increase in line with the change in the annual Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has announced the increase of the drug Wholesale Price Index (WPI) by 0.53638 per cent.
Prices of scheduled drugs are allowed an increase each year by the drug regulator, in line with the annual WPI. Not enthused with the increase for the year, and having been impacted with nearly 15-20% surge in manufacturing costs during the year, the pharma industry plans to seek a 20% increase.
The issued notification by the NPPA states that based on the WPI data available on the website of the Office of the Economic Advisor, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry the annual changes in the WPI works out as 0.53638 per cent during the calendar year 2020 over the corresponding period in 2019.
The pharma industry stakeholders are not happy with the announced WPI and are planning to make a representation to the authority requesting to allow a one-time increase of a minimum 20 per cent, over and above WPI.
The industry informs that there is a need for this step due to the rising costs of all input materials has been rising since the onset of the C-19 pandemic.
Jaswant Chauhan, General Secretary, FOPE, said, “The announced increase of WPI by 0.53638 per cent is just eyewash. Since the C-19 pandemic has begun the prices of raw material and other input costs have gone up by nearly 30-35 per cent. Therefore, it is not viable for the industry.”
Harish Jain, Secretary, Karnataka Drugs and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (KDPMA) pointed out, ” The WPI increase of about 0.54 per cent in the current circumstances does not reflect the ground reality the Pharma sector is facing.
The time has come to find a way out of the challenges being faced by the industry. It will be great if the NPPA can invoke for one time, Para 19 to allow an increase of prices of NLEM drugs in view of extraordinary circumstances.”
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Another industry observer pointed out, “Since the C-19 pandemic has started, the industry is facing the brunt of price increase of raw materials, freight charges, allied materials etc.
However, due to DPCO 2013, we can not increase the prices of finished formulations and the increase of WPI by 0.53638 per cent is minuscule and not supporting the industry at all.
Considering the pandemic situation and the need to continue the supply of medicines in the country, the authority should consider a one time increase of over 20 per cent over and above WPI, which will benefit both the industry as well as the end consumer.”