Prices of essential medicines including painkillers, anti-infectives, cardiac and antibiotics could go up from April as the Government allowed drug manufacturers to increase accordingly with the annual Wholesale Price Index (WPI). The annual change in the WPI notified works out to 0.5 percent for 2020, drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority said, according to Times of India. The prices of the scheduled drugs are allowed an increase each year by the drug regulator in line with the annual WPI.
Sources reportedly said that there has been surge of 15-20 percent in the manufacturing costs this year and pharma companies plan to seek a 20 percent increase accordingly.
“We feel the percentage allowed for increase is too small. During pandemic, the industry was impacted by a rise in prices of key raw materials, sea freight and increase in packaging material, among other rising costs. We plan to ask for an increase as a one-off increase from the government soon,” an industry expert reportedly said.
Reports said that the ingredients of these medicines are imported from China while for certain active pharmaceutical ingredients dependence on China is around 80-90 percent. The COVID pandemic led to disruption of supplies leading to higher costs to importers. Meanwhile, China has also increased prices of key inputs by 10-20 percent once supplies resumed last year.
The Government recently extended the increased the price of Heparin injection which is used in COVID treatment till September 2021. The Government hiked the price at 50 percent on Heparin after receiving requests from companies.