Are You Paying Way Too Much for your Medications?


By Aastha Kapoor

Did you know that the most common antibiotic combination of Amoxycillin and Clavulanic acid was sold at Rs.44/tab(2012)? And when the same combination came under price control set by the government its price got drastically reduced to Rs.26/tab (2015), saving 41%! Similar was the fate of another antibiotic Azithromycin which was sold at Rs.32/tab (2012) and its price was reduced to Rs.24 /tab (2015), again saving 25%.**

Therefore, it is extremely important for us to know all about the Drug Price Control in India. Some of the key aspects to understand are :

Q. What is Drug Price Control?

Government limits the maximum price that can be charged for specified goods, that is called as Price control. Price control of drugs means that drugs cannot be sold at a price beyond what is fixed by the Central government. 

Q. Why we need Price control of drugs in India?

We need price control on drugs because 65% of the Indian population lacks regular access to affordable essential medicines. This can be explained by :

– Burgeoning Indian population

– Rising retail inflation

– Increase in prevalance of chronic health conditions

Q. What initiative has the Government taken for controlling the drug prices?

With an aim to make medicines more affordable, the Central Government, in 1996, through National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) started an initiative of controlling prices of essential drugs in the country.

Q. Which drugs fall under the price control initiative of the Government?

The Central government publishes a list of Essential Medicines from time to time. This list is called National List of Essential medicines (NLEM).Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of majority of the population.

The drugs included in this list are: Paracetamol, Glucose, Amoxycilline, Diazepam, Codeine Phosphate, Ciprofloxacin, Azithromycin, Losartan, Diclofenac, anti-asthma drugs, anti-tuberculosis drugs, anticancer, and drugs for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. The drugs/medicines listed under this, cannot be sold at a price beyond what is fixed by the central government.

Q. Do all forms and strengths of drugs listed under NLEM come under price control?

No, NLEM states that only the prices of specific strengths and dosage forms mentioned in the list comes under price control. For example, 

– Insulin injections 40IU/ml, Metformin 500mg, Glibenclamide 2.5mg & 5mg comes under price control. But, NLEM does not include other antidiabetic drugs sold in the market like Gliclazide, Glimepride, Metformin 250mg, 850mg, 1000mg 

– 1 ml Hepatitis B vaccine is in the list, but the 0.5 ml Hepatitis B is not

Q. What can be done to a manufacturer that sells a medicine above the price approved by the Government?

Pharmaceutical companies cite the cost of research and development as a major contributing factor to the cost of medications. If a manufacturer sells a medicine at a price higher than the price approved for the product, the manufacturer is liable for prosecution and a fine payable to the Government that the manufacturer gained by charging prices higher than those fixed or notified by the Government.

Q. What can you do to ensure you pay the right price for your medications?

The government is active in ensuring impartial distribution and availability of medicines at fair prices, but as a consumer/patient we should be vigilant. If a retailer charges you more than the printed MRP of a medicine (listed under essential or non-essential drugs) you could file a complaint against the retailer. A complaint can be lodged with the Drug Inspector of the District, the State Drug Controller or with NPPA directly also.

**- Data taken from AWACS-AIOCD (AWACS- Airborne Warning And Control System, AIOCD -All Indian Origin Chemists & Distributors Ltd.)

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4 thoughts on “Are You Paying Way Too Much for your Medications?

  1. Pingback: Jan Aushadhi Scheme: Providing Quality Medicines At Affordable Prices – 1mg Capsules

    1. Anandaraju KH

      Dear Mr.Sanjeevkumar, it is not effort of govt., its destruction of old DPCO,in year 1995 drug prices were decided on manufacturing cost but now deciding on market base, govts. & pharma companies looting common people & Govt. Given permission to increase medicine prices up to 10% per year

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