Essential and life-saving medicines are set to get expensive from fiscal 2024 in line with rising inflation. The central government has approved a 12.12% hike in the prices of essential drugs, which are regulated under the Drug Price Control Order, according to the minutes of the meeting of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
This is the biggest ever hike announced and it’s effective from April 1. It’s based on the wholesale price index of the preceding calendar year, which is representative of inflation in the country.
The DPCO caps the prices of essential and life-saving drugs to ensure their availability at reasonable rates. The order provides the list of price-controlled drugs, procedures for fixation of prices of drugs, method of implementation of prices fixed by the government and penalties for contravention of provisions.
Over fiscals 2018–2022, companies manufacturing these scheduled drugs, which are covered under the National List of Essential Medicines, were allowed 0.5–4.2% year-on-year hike, based on the WPI of the preceding calendar year. However, the 2023 fiscal saw the ceiling being raised to 10.8% in line with the WPI of 2021. In a meeting on Monday, the Department for Pharmaceuticals raised the ceiling ling being raised to 10.8% in line with the WPI of 2021. In a meeting on Monday, the Department for Pharmaceuticals raised the ceiling to 12.12% for 2023–24. This is the second consecutive double-digit hike for NLEM drugs, Krishnanath Munde, associate director at India Ratings and Research.