New Delhi: A total of 54 drugs, including those for cancer, heart disorders, diabetes and hypertension will now be available at reduced prices following drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s (NPPA) decision to slash their prices by up to 55 per cent. The development seeks to make treatment of acute but common diseases in India affordable to more people.
A notification in this regard was issued by the regulator on Tuesday ordering all the manufacturers, distributors and retailers to implement the ceiling prices with immediate effect.
This is the second time in 15 days that the NPPA has slashed prices. Previously, on April 28, the drug pricing regulator had cut prices of 54 other medicines.
The 54 drugs include the medicines for blood pressure, Trastuzumab injection used in treatment of breast cancer, Temozolomide for brain cancer, hypertension, diabetes, antibiotics and heart disorders. Prices of these medicines have been fixed on priority because these are the most commonly used and are new to the list.
There are 875 drugs on the regulator's National List of Essential Medicines, 2015, after it was revised in December last year. At present the revised list contains 280 drugs, which will have a price cut.
A latest report by the National Cancer Registry Programme of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), cited by TOI, cancer has become the biggest cause of death in India with 1,300 deaths daily and close to 5 lakh every year.
To bring down the prices of such medicines the government has also explored other ways - the health ministry has started AMRIT (Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment) programme to provide cancer drugs to patients at a heavily discounted price. Likewise the department of pharmaceuticals started Jan Aushadhi stores to sell these medicines at cheaper prices.