NPPA Implements Incremental Price Hike for Essential Medications, Effective April 1
NPPA Implements Incremental Price Hike for Essential Medications, Effective April 1

NPPA Implements Incremental Price Hike for Essential Medications, Effective April 1

  • 02-Apr-2024 3:24 PM
  • Journalist: Jacob Kutchner

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has announced a notice indicating a rise in the prices of essential medications including Amoxicillin, Ibuprofen, Cetirizine, etc., effective April 1, 2024. As per the notification, there will be an increase of 0.00551 percent in the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of scheduled formulations starting from the commencement of the fiscal year 2024-25.

Allegedly, this adjustment aligns with the alteration in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for the preceding calendar year of 2023 compared to 2022. Sources suggest that the WPI movement for the year exhibits a notably lower trend compared to the increases observed since 2017.

The price hike is expected to affect essential medicines, encompassing categories such as painkillers, antibiotics, and anti-infectives. According to the notice issued by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), referencing data from the office of the Economic Advisor, Department of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the annual change in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for the calendar year 2023 compared to the corresponding period in 2022 is calculated at a modest increase of (+) 0.00551%.

As per the notice dated March 27, 2024, manufacturers are permitted to adjust the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of scheduled formulations in accordance with the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), eliminating the necessity for prior approval from the government. This decision follows a 12% increase in medicine prices last year and a 10% increase in 2022.

The revised prices will encompass over 800 drugs, spanning a range of essential medications such as paracetamol, azithromycin, vitamins, minerals, certain COVID-19 treatment drugs, and steroids.

In another notice dated March 30, 2024, the price regulator has released revised prices reflecting the impact of the Wholesale Price Index movement on all scheduled drugs. The notification details the fixation and revision of prices for 923 Scheduled Formulations and retail prices for 65 formulations. Noteworthy drugs on the list include Amoxicillin, Amphotericin B, Benzoyl peroxide, Cefadroxil, Cetirizine, Dexamethasone, Fluconazole, Folic Acid, Heparin, Ibuprofen, and many others.

The incremental price adjustments, while impacting the nation's healthcare system, may offer a potential benefit in combating antibiotic resistance, particularly concerning drugs frequently associated with it. Although the increase is marginal, it could contribute to curbing the proliferation of antibiotic resistance. Notably, drugs like Paracetamol and other painkillers, which are readily available over-the-counter (OTC), have been subject to concerns regarding overuse. The previous 12% price hike was supported by experts, emphasizing the importance of balancing accessibility with responsible medication usage.

According to insights provided by ChemAnalyst, shifts in pricing and demand for essential medications in India have the potential to send ripples through global pharmaceutical supply chains. This could prompt manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors involved in the global pharmaceutical market to adapt their strategies to align with the changes observed in India. Consequently, the adjustments made in response to the Indian market dynamics may influence the pricing and availability of medications in other countries.

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