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NPPA Yet to Respond on Drug Price Variation, Concerns Over 1,000% Increase in Certain Cough Syrups

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), responsible for regulating drug prices in the country, has not yet responded to the UT health secretary’s inquiry regarding price fluctuations in certain non-essential drugs. Although these drugs are not subject to price control, they are not permitted to increase their maximum retail price (MRP) by more than 10 percent within a year. However, it has been discovered that the MRPs of three cough syrup brands have experienced a staggering increase of over 1,000 percent within a year, despite initially being sold by the manufacturer to the retailer for Rs 18 to Rs 19 per bottle. UT health secretary Yashpal Garg expressed concern over the lack of response from the NPPA.

In May, the health department urged the NPPA to investigate the matter and take appropriate action. The UT health department deemed this practice unjustified, even though these drugs are not subject to price control regulations. During a visit to GMSH 16, it was uncovered that one cough syrup brand had an MRP that was 1,483 percent higher than its initial sale price from the manufacturer. Similarly, another brand had an 837 percent margin above the initial sale price, and a manufacturer from Solan recorded an 889 percent margin. Chandigarh is currently in the process of establishing a pharmaceutical price monitoring resource unit (PPMRU).

‚ÄčAlthough a society has already been registered for the PPMRU, it will take some time before it becomes fully operational. Once established, the PPMRU will monitor drug prices and provide the necessary information to the NPPA. This local monitoring system aims to enable authorities to examine such cases at a local level instead of relying solely on the central agency, as stated by an official in the UT health department.

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