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Drug Price control in India

Friends lets clear your concept about DPCO

If the Government keeps a close watch over diesel prices, air fares and even mobile phone tariffs, why doesn’t it do something about the spiralling prices of medicines? If that’s your question, it does through the Drug (Pricing Control) Order (DPCO)

To ensure that vital drugs are available at affordable prices, the Government exercises control over the prices of certain drugs it defines as ‘essential

Who will define that the given drug is essential?

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare prepare NLEM ie National List of Essential Medicine

From where they will get the authority?

From Section 3 of Essential Commodity Act 1955

What if the Drug is enlisted in NLEM?

All the drugs listed there are under price control, now comes the role of NPPA ie National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority

NPPA is an organization of the Government of India which was established, inter alia, to fix/ revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995

Functions of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority

—-To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.

—-to deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority;

—-to monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps;

—–to collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations;


India’s drug pricing regime has evolved. While the Drugs Order (Display of Prices) 1962 froze medicine pricing, the landmark Hathi Committee Report (1975) led to the Drug Policy (1978) which set up a National Drug Authority and selective price control on medicines

  • Drug Policy 1986
  • DPCO 1995
  • Pharmaceutical Policy 2002
  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy 2012
  • DPCO 2013

Under the earlier avatar of the DPCO (1995), 74 drugs were subject to price control. In the 2013 version, the number of drugs under the price control was expanded five-fold to 348.

In May 2013, NPPA notified that the maximum prices for these 348 essential drug formulations cannot exceed the average price of various brands (of the same underlying formulation) with a market share of one per cent or more.

It initially brought under price control 652 medicines or formulations based on 348 bulk drugs listed under the National List of Essential Medicines.

According to a notification issued by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), prices of drug eluting stent would be fixed at ₹29,600, while that of bare metal stents would stand at just ₹7,260. In comparison, the prices of drug eluting stents now range between ₹40,000 and ₹1.98 lakh. Similarly, bare metal stents cost patients between ₹30,000 and ₹75,000 on an average.

Compiled by Satyaprakash Tripathi

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