Consumers will have to pay more for painkillers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs amongst others, as the government is set to hike the prices of essential drugs and lifesaving medicines by 12.12% from April 1. The price hike will be across all 384 essential drugs as listed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), in a communication dated March 27, said that the prices have been hiked in line with surging wholesale price inflation and as per the provisions of DPCO (Drugs Price Control Order), 2013.

"Based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data provided by the Office of the Economic Advisor, Department of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the annual change in the WPI works out as 12.12% during the calendar year 2022 over the corresponding period in 2021," the NPPA said in a statement.

"This is brought to the notice of all concerned for further action as per the provisions of DPCO, 2013," it added. Every year, the NPPA announces a change in wholesale price inflation as per the provisions of DPCO, 2013. Last year, the NPPA announced a change in the WPI by 10.7%. DPCO controls the domestic prices of major bulk drugs and their formulations with an aim to provide patients with medicines at affordable prices. It is applicable only to allopathic drugs where DPCO ascertains the bulk drugs (and their formulations) to be kept under price control. 

Meanwhile, the NPPA has also fixed retail prices of 25 drugs under DPCO, 2013 including Camylofin Dihydrochloride and Paracetamol tablets (used in the treatment of abdominal pain and painful menstrual cramps) at ₹5.53, and Itraconazole capsules (used in the treatment of fungal infections) at ₹20.72. 

The price of hypertension medicines such as Telmisartan & ChlorthalidoneTablets, Bisoprolol Fumarate & Amlodipine Tablets and Cilnidipine & Telmisartan Tablets are fixed at ₹8.04, ₹8.34 and ₹12.83, respectively. The price of another hypertension medicine Glimepiride tablets IP, for 4mg and 3mg dosage is fixed at ₹11.57 and ₹9.77, respectively. The price of Glycopyrroniu m Ph. Eur, Formoterol Fumarate IP and Budesonide Inhalation powder (used in the treatment of COPD) and Chlorpheniramine Maleate and Phenylephrine Hydrochloride Syrup (used for allergy) is fixed at ₹12.19 and ₹1.16 respectively. The Gliclazide (MR) and Metformin Hydrochloride (ER) Tablet (used for type-II diabetes) is fixed at ₹6.57.

According to the NPPA, the retail price is applicable to the individual manufacturer or marketer who has applied for the same by submitting Form-I for price fixation/revision as stipulated under DPCO, 2013. “In case the retail price of any of the aforesaid formulations is not complied with, as per instant price notification and notes specified hereinabove, then the concerned manufacturer/marketing company shall be liable to deposit the overcharged amount along with the interest thereon under the provisions of the DPCO, 2013 read with the Essential Commodities Act, 1955,” the NPPA said. 

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