Prices of essential drugs to go up by 12% from April 1

Last year, the hike was just 0.5 per cent, while it was two per cent in 2020. Representative image: Photo/Manorama

Chennai: The prices of essential drugs, antibiotics, and pain killers, will go up by 12% from April 1. This follows the permission granted to pharmaceutical companies by the central government to increase the prices at the beginning of the financial year based on the annual Wholesale Price Index (WPI). 

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which regulates the prices of medicines, has said that prices could increase by up to 12%. This is the highest one-time increase in the prices of medicines under the 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 900 drugs (formulations) which have 384 medical molecules that are included in the National List of Essential Drugs will increase. At present, these are included in the price control list. There will be an increase of 10% in the prices of medicines in the non-scheduled drugs category which are outside the price control regime. 

This is for the second consecutive year that the prices of medicines on the price control list are increasing more than those on the non-scheduled drugs

Pharmaceutical companies are permitted to increase the prices of nonscheduled drugs, which do not come under price control, by 10 per cent annually. 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 Indian Drug Manufacturers Association had urged the central government in November to increase the price of scheduled drugs by 10 per cent. They pointed out the increase in the cost of components required for drug manufacturing, packaging and import duty as the reasons for the demand

The NPPA will release the revised rates soon.

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