The All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) have approached the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) to ask the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to intimate all concerned about reduction in prices, (as per reduction in whole sale price index), three months in advance.This is to be done so that there is no inconvenience caused to manufacturers and retailers in implementation of price revision. A memorandum to this effect, is likely to be issued soon.
The memorandum will also ask for the DOP’s intervention to direct the NPPA to issue a circular to drug manufacturers, asking them to stop production of medicines with batch numbers whose prices have been lowered, as per wholesale price index (WPI) and resume supply of the drugs with revised prices reported Pharmabiz.
The President, Mr. JS Shinde, and the General Secretary, Suresh Gupta are planning to call upon Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizer, Ananth Kumar, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertiliser, Hansraj Ahir and Joint Secretary, DoP, Sudhansh Pant in this regard
In accordance with the decline in the WPI by 5% during 2015, the NPPA on March 2, 2016 notified all manufacturers of scheduled formulations, having MRP lower than the ceiling price as notified including local taxes- if any, to reduce the maximum retail prices as per the provisions of paragraph 16(4) of Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013.
Mr. Suresh Gupta AIOCD, General Secretary, claimed that there were 20,000 formulations that were affected by the NPPA order. According to him despite the notification, if anyone was found selling these formulations at the current price, they were liable to be prosecuted. He also brought to light the fact that manufacturers had not provided anyone with the list of revised prices of the formulations, in accordance with the WPI changes.
Mr. Gupta said if the retailers stopped selling the formulations in the absence of the price list there would be a serious shortage of medicine in the market, leading to an agonizing situation. As doctors at the time of prescribing medicines, were often not aware of the NPPA changes, he added.
Gupta said that if the Central government issued any circular regarding ceiling price or ban drugs, the same must be provided to every chemist by the state drug authority or central authority, as well as, pharma manufacturers.
AIOCD president, J S Shinde speaking on the lowering of price issue said the government should have given retailers at least three months to sell the available stock with current prices and asked drug manufacturers to supply scheduled formulations, whose prices have been lowered by 2.7 ;with the revised prices coming into play, after April 1. It would ensure hassle free implementation of price revision, he added.
NPPA has issued three notifications to concerned stakeholders from March, till date asking them to sell scheduled formulations with revised prices as per WPI, said Shinde.
With 8.5 lakh drug traders including 6 lakh retailers in the country, it has been observed that , 45 to 55 per cent retail chemists do not have computer and internet facility; hence making it impossible for them to find 20,000 formulations in shops, and sell them to consumers as per NPPA notification, he regretted.
He also informed that despite several reminders to drug manufacturers asking them to provide retail chemists with revised price list of scheduled formulations, no action had been taken .Most of the drug retailers were not aware of the NPPA notification and the list of products falling under it, he further clarified. Mr. Shinde also spoke about the drug manufacturers not recalling their stocks for re-labelling or letting the drug retailers know of the revision in prices.
He spoke of his helplessness in the case and his intention along with the others to approach the Union and Health Minister, as well as, the Joint Secretary for help. Mr. Shinde said a memorandum will be submitted to them pleading them to instruct the NPPA to issue a circular carrying a price revision notification at least 90 days in advance, to avoid chaos.