Price caps are introduced by the government for listed essential drugs

A new list of essential medicines (NLEM) was released by the Union Health Ministry in September and is now being regulated by the Drug Prices Control Order, which fixes ceiling prices for these essential formulations based on average retail costs.

On November 11, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, which ensures the pricing cap, published a gazette notification.

The price cap for 34 new essential medicines brought under NLEM will take effect immediately. The NLEM now includes 384 drugs.

To determine the ceiling price, we calculate the average price to retailers of all generics and branded generics with over 1% market share and add a small retailer margin.

As a result of this current revision, the cost of newer therapies for diabetes is expected to decrease, including Teneligliptin and Glargine insulin, both listed on the list for 2022.

Bendamustine Hydrochloride, a treatment for certain types of blood and lymph node cancers, has been added to the list, as well as Irinotecan HCI Trihydrate, which is used as a single or combined treatment for colorectal and pancreatic cancer, Lenalidomide for treating various types of cancer, and Leuprolide acetate for treating prostate cancer.

In the explanation section following the revised schedule, the notification stated that any dosage or form of the same drug would be subject to the price ceiling. Moreover, similar salts, analogues of active ingredients, and vaccines made by different methods would also be subject to price control, even if they were not explicitly mentioned in the schedule.

The report noted, however, that any innovation will be subject to price control only if it is explicitly referred to as such. The notification stated, “There must be an encouragement for innovation in medicine.”. It is important to consider including pharmaceutical formulations developed through incremental innovation or novel drug delivery systems, such as lipids/liposomal formulations, only if they are specified against specific medicines.

As part of the recently published DPCO amendment notification, in addition to vaccines already under the government’s universal immunization programme, vaccines that are currently being considered, including pneumococcal vaccines and HPV vaccines (Human Papilloma Virus that causes cervical cancer), will also come under price control when they are included in the immunization program.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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