Reports Claiming Big Hike In Medicine Prices Are False, Misleading: Centre

The government dismissed the media reports claiming that medicine prices will witness a significant hike by up to 12 per cent from April 2024 and called them false, misleading and malicious.

“Some media reports have highlighted that medicine prices will witness a significant hike by up to 12 per cent from April 2024. These reports further claim that more than 500 medicines will be affected by this increase in price. Such reports are false, misleading and malicious”, an official statement said.

As per the provisions of Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) 2013, drugs are categorised as scheduled and non-scheduled formulations. The formulations that are listed in Schedule I of DPCO 2013 are scheduled formulations and the formulations that are not specified in Schedule I of DPCO 2013 are non-schedule formulations.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the Department of Pharmaceuticals annually revises the ceiling prices of scheduled medicines based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI).

The scheduled medicines included in the Schedule-I of the DPCO, 2013 are essential. During the calendar year 2023 over the corresponding period in 2022, the annual change in WPI with base year 2011-12 was ( ) 0.00551 per cent as per data published by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Accordingly, the Authority in its meeting held on 20.03.2024 has approved the WPI increase @ ( ) 0.00551 per cent for the scheduled medicines.

The ceiling prices on 923 medicines are effective as of date. Based on the above-mentioned WPI factor of ( ) 0.00551 per cent, there will be no change in the prevailing ceiling prices for 782 medicines and the existing ceiling prices will continue to prevail up to March 31, 2025.

Fifty-four (54) medicines with ceiling prices ranging from Rs 90 to Rs 261 will have a miniscule increase of Rs. 0.01 (one paisa). As the permissible price increase is miniscule, the companies may or may not avail of this increase. Thus, in the year FY 2024-25, there will be almost no change in the ceiling price of medicines based on WPI.

The WPI increase is the maximum increase permissible as per the DPCO, 2013 and the manufacturers may or may not avail of this increase, keeping in view the market dynamics. The companies adjust their Maximum Retail Price (MRP) depending on the ceiling price of their medicines, as MRP (excluding GST) can be any price that is less than the ceiling price.

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