Heart disease, diabetes drugs to cost less as... Govt cuts essential medicine prices


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New Delhi, May 16
The Government has cut prices of 41 commonly used medicines and six formulations related to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other conditions.
Prices have been slashed for drugs meant for diabetes, body pain, cardiovascular conditions, liver issues, antacids, infections, and allergies, and for multivitamins, and antibiotics, as per a notification from the Department of Pharmaceutical and National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
India, which has over 10 crore diabetes patients, is among the countries with the highest number of cases globally. This price reduction will hugely benefit patients who are dependent on medications and insulin.
"Changing prices of medicines and formulations is a kind of routine work for the regulatory body like NPPA. We ensure that there is a ceiling cap on medicines which are essential for public and the cost remains affordable," said a senior NPPA official.
Prices of drugs such as dapagliflozin metformin hydrochloride, used for lowering blood glucose levels by decreasing glucose production in the liver, have been fixed at Rs 16 for one tablet against Rs 30 previously.
Combinations such as budesonide and formoterol, used to help control the symptoms of asthma and improve lung function, have been made more affordable with the price being slashed to Rs 6.62 for one dose. Usually, a bottle containing 120 doses comes for Rs 3,800.
Hydrochlorothiazide tablets, used to lower blood pressure, will come for Rs 10.45 for one tablet against Rs 11.07 now. Ceftazidime and avibactam (as sodium salt) powder for infections has been fixed at Rs 1,569.94 for one vial against Rs 4000.
Antacid antigas gel is also cheaper now as its retail price has been fixed at Rs 0.56 per 1 ml from Rs 2.57, as per the NPPA notice. Atorvastatin, clopidogrel and aspirin capsule prices have been fixed at Rs 13.84 for one capsule against Rs 30 currently.
Similarly, povidone-iodine and ornidazole ointment prices have been fixed at Rs 4 for 1gm against Rs 70 for 15mg previously. Ibuprofen and paracetamol tablets have been fixed at Rs 1.59 for one tablet against Rs 6.
Previously, high prices for multivitamins and antibiotics contributed to the huge cost of general treatment. Last month, the Department of Pharmaceuticals released its annual revised ceiling prices for 923 scheduled drug formulations and revised retail prices for 65 formulations, effective 1 April.
This revision in ceiling and retail prices follows the NPPA's announcement of a 0.00551% increase in prices of drugs on the National List of Essential Drugs (NLEM), based on changes in the wholesale price index (WPI).
The latest decision was taken during the 143rd meeting of the NPPA, a regulatory body that sets pharmaceutical prices. Earlier this year, the NPPA had reduced the prices of 69 medicines used in diabetes and hypertension.
Meanwhile, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has decided to expand the committee to oversee efforts to reform drug and medical device pricing by bringing in more industry participants.
The Department has invited at least seven industry associations to the committee that has been tasked with striking a balance between pricing and availability of essential medicines, while offering incentives to the industry to foster growth and exports.