New Delhi : Prices of essential medicines – including painkillers, anti-infectives, cardiac drugs and antibiotics – are slated to go up from April, dealing a body blow to consumers already reeling under the impact of inflation.
The government is all set to allow drug companies an increase in line with the change in the annual Wholesale Price Index (WPI). The annual change in WPI, as notified by the government, works out to 12.12% during 2022, the drug prices regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) said on Monday.
The rest – non-scheduled drugs which are outside price control – are allowed an annual increase of 10% every year. For the year 2021, the subsequent hike in drugs was over 10% in line with change in WPI.
Historically, the increase in prices due to the annual change in WPI has been marginal, ranging between 1% and 2% over the last few years. The NPPA will notify the ceiling prices of the scheduled formulations over the next few days, sources said.
The development will be welcome news for the industry, which has been battling a surge in manufacturing costs on account of multiple factors. During pandemic, the industry was impacted by a rise in prices of raw materials (active pharmaceutical ingredients), freight and increase in plastics and packaging material, among other costs.
“The industry will be relieved once the new prices are notified. It has been facing a cost escalation due to imported raw materials and excipients in certain drugs. Also, it will be a relief for those drugs which were added to the scheduled drugs’ list,” an industry expert said.