New Delhi : India’s drug pricing authority has engaged a Delhi-based policy think tank to study pricing policies of multiple countries to collate information on access to medicines at affordable prices, amid strong indications that the government is considering various methods including trade margin rationalisation to reduce prices of drugs.
Bridge Policy Think Tank, a legal research foundation which undertakes legislative and policy research, has been asked to do a comparative study of drug pricing policies of the UK, US, Australia, Brazil, Sri Lanka Bangladesh, European Union, Thailand, China and South Africa, among other countries and regions.
“The mandate is to study drug pricing practices of these regions to bring about affordable pricing,” said a person aware of the matter, who did not wish to be identified.
The think tank started work this month and is supposed to submit the report to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) in four months.
It has previously worked with the World Bank, Union corporate affairs ministry, Insolvency and bankruptcy Board of India and International Financial Services Centre Authority.
he scope of the research study on “multi-jurisdictional study of drug pricing policies with a focus on affordable access to medicines” includes review of best practices around the world.
The think tank is in the process of arranging for focus group discussions with pharmaceutical companies to understand their challenges, market practices and other inputs in this regard. To understand the challenges better, it has also got in touch with the various pharma associations.
Focus group discussions are to be conducted with pharmaceutical companies before September 15, said the person cited earlier.
“The government is looking to create a fine line between the companies and the consumers so that it’s a win-win for both. It is imperative to undertake such mechanisms so that it’s sustainable and it increases viability,” said a government official, who did not wish to be identified.
The government is also actively considering applying the trade margin rationalisation formula to bring down the prices of medicines.
As reported by ET earlier, the NPPA restarted discussions with stakeholders on the matter in May. The previous round of talks took place in November 2019.
Trade margin is the difference between the price at which manufacturers or importers sell products to stockists and the prices charged to consumers. At present, the NPPA fixes prices of scheduled drugs. Prices of non-scheduled drugs are allowed to be increased by up to 10% a year