800 essential drugs, including paracetamol, to get costlier by 10% from today

Representational image.

New Delhi: The prices of over 800 drugs, including life-saving medicines, will go up by more than 10 per cent from April 1.

Though the upper limit of the hike has not been declared, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has clarified that the increase in Wholesale Price Index (WPI), compared to previous years, is 10.76 per cent and the hike in prices of medicines will be in consonance with this increase.

This is the highest one-time increase in the prices of medicines under price control regime, since the NPPA came into being in 1997. Last year, the hike was just 0.5 per cent, while it was two per cent in 2020.

The prices of various medicines have been increased, including paracetamol and antibiotics like azithromycin, medicines to prevent anaemia, vitamin-mineral tablets, medicines for diabetes and cardiac ailments and some medicines used for Covid treatment.

Pharmaceutical companies are permitted to increase the prices of non-scheduled drugs by 10 per cent annually, which does not come under price control. However, the NPPA has to give the go-ahead to increase the prices of medicines which come under price control. Of the total number of medicines sold, 16 per cent come under price control mechanisms.

The hike was demanded by pharma companies

The Indian Drug Manufacturers Association had urged the Central government in November to increase the price of scheduled drugs by 10 per cent.

They had pointed out the increase in cost of components required for drug manufacturing, packaging and import duty as the reasons for the demand.

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