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Gireesh Babu, New Delhi February 14 , 2023
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has proposed to bring down the ceiling price of anti-cardiac drug dobutamine injection 50 mg by around 81 per cent and snake venom antiserum by around 64 per cent through the ongoing process of revising the ceiling prices of scheduled formulations as per the revised Schedule I of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013.

According to the draft calculation sheet of ceiling prices for 50 scheduled formulations, released as the 12th such lot of calculation sheets from the NPPA, the ceiling price of dobutamine injection 50, a medication to treat heart failure by strengthening the heart muscles and to treat low blood pressure, has been proposed at Rs. 8.05, with a reduction of 80.67 per cent as compared to the current ceiling price of Rs. 41.64 for each pack.

Lupin Ltd, Troikaa Pharmaceuticals, United Biotech (P) Ltd, Samarth Life Sciences Pvt Ltd and Neon Laboratories are some of the manufacturers of the formulation, it adds.

The ceiling price of snake venom antiserum is proposed to be reduced to Rs. 173.57 per pack from the current ceiling price of Rs. 480.46 per pack, with a reduction of 63.87 per cent. The maximum permissible price to retailers as per the order dated March 30, 2022, is Rs. 414.19. The Authority considered the prices of botropase 1 IU injection 1 ml and 2 ml from Juggat Pharma while fixing the price. The other manufacturers of the formulation include Biological E Ltd, Troikaa Pharmaceuticals, and Depsons Pharma.

For atracurium injection 10mg/ml, used in general anaesthesia, the earlier ceiling price was fixed for each pack at Rs. 58.21 irrespective of pack size and the draft calculation sheet proposed the ceiling price at Rs. 15.14 on per ml basis instead of pack size. The price of the products available in the market were restricted to the maximum price to retailers of Rs. 50.18 per pack as fixed on March 30, 2022, during the calculation.

The other scheduled formulations for which the draft ceiling prices were released now include paracetamol injection 150 mg, amoxicillin oral liquid 250 mg per 5 ml, paclitaxel injection 100 mg/16.7 ml and Injection 30 mg/5 ml, pheniramine injection 22.75 mg/ml, lorazepam injection 2 mg/ml, omeprazole powder for oral liquid 20 mg, and new strengths and formulations added in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2022, including azathioprine 25 mg, azithromycin 1000 mg, among others.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has notified Revised Schedule-I of Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) on November 11, 2022 incorporating the NLEM, 2022, which was notified by the ministry of health and family welfare on September 13, 2022. Based on the revised Schedule I, the NPPA is in the process of fixing or revising the ceiling prices of all the scheduled formulations at present.

There are 388 medicines (including 2 animal vaccines and 2 stents) consisting of approximately 954 formulations in the Revised Schedule-I of the DPCO, 2013.

Bhagwanth Khuba, minister of state in the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers recently said in the Lok Sabha that the NPPA has fixed ceiling prices of 400 scheduled formulations under NLEM, 2022 till February 6, 2023 as per the provisions of DPCO, 2013. This has led to an average reduction of 15.39% in the ceiling prices, he added.

The 11th lot of draft version of calculation sheets for another 50 formulations were released by the NPPA on February 9, 2023.

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