Millennium Post

200 pharma firms break Govt price caps

The government's every move to reduce the prices of life-saving drugs has been blatantly foiled by profit-making major pharmaceutical companies. The startling fact about pharma majors violating price ceiling order has come to the notice of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) during a survey conducted by the drug price regulator.

In the survey, it has come to the notice of NPPA that over 200 drug majors have violated its notification on ceiling prices of various medicines used for treating life taking diseases such as cancer, renal infection, tetanus, fungal infections, etc. The NPPA, through the findings of the survey, learnt that pharma majors are overcharging 300 times more for drugs from notified prices.

The survey, which was conducted by analysing market data of prices of all notified drugs, found that a total of 613 notified drugs were being not sold at fixed prices. The companies, which were found selling all notified life-saving drugs at exorbitant prices, include Abbott Healthcare, Alkem Laboratories, Bharat Serums, Cipla, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Pfizer, Sun Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Lupin Ltd, Zydus Cadila, Wockhardt, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi India, etc.

Taking swift action against all errant violators, the NPPA has sent preliminary notices and asked them to submit necessary documents in support of the compliance. According to an NPPA official, after scrutinising the documents, the regulator would take action against violators and collect the overcharged amount from them. Surprisingly, a drug called Tetglob 1000 IU injection, which is used to prevent tetanus, was found to be sold at Rs 3,289, which is 300 times more than its fixed price that is just Rs 11. The drug manufacturer --- Bharat Serums – flouted the NPPA order and overcharged Rs 3,277 more from the patients. During the survey, it was found that the Abbott Healthcare manufactured Ambisome 50 mg injection was being sold at Rs 11,500, which is Rs 6,712 more than the notified price as the medicine, which is used for treating variety of serious fungal infections, was supposed to be sold at Rs 4,788 only.

Similarly, Abbott's Imumax 300 mg injection, which is used for treating infections after chemotherapy, was found to be sold at Rs 2,443 against the price fixed for selling it at Rs 1,336. The company overcharged Rs 1,107 more from patients for one vial of the injection.

Dr Reddy's manufactured key drug for treating chronic cancer — Reditux RA 500 mg — was found to be sold at Rs 71,095 in retail market, which is Rs 34,149 more than the price fixed by the NPPA.

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