Soaring Medicine Prices Continue To Impact Patients

This is not the first time NPPA announced such increases. In 2021, the NPPA had announced an increase in Wholesale Price Index (WPI) of 0.53%.
Soaring Medicine Prices Continue To Impact Patients
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Assam and India as a whole is witnessing a steep increase in the prices of medicines which is evidently hurting regular buyers of already expensive medicines for common ailments such as cancer, blood pressure, and diabetes.

The soaring prices have hit the livelihoods of people at a time when the country is reeling from a disastrous pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives.

Last year, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) of India had announced that starting April 1, 2022, the prices of over 850 medicines on the National List of Essential Medicines, will be raised by 10.7% as part of an annual exercise.

This is not the first time NPPA announced such increases. In 2021, the NPPA had announced an increase in Wholesale Price Index (WPI) of 0.53%.

In 2020, it was 1.88%, while in 2019 and 2018 it was 4.26% and 3.43%, respectively. In 2017, the effective increase in WPI was set at 1.97% but in 2016, it was set at (-) 2.71%.

The increase in WPI in 2022 is the highest since the Drug Price Control Order, 2013, came into effect.

According to a survey in Guwahati, the prices of all medicines used to treat fever, infections, diabetes, heart disease, anaemia, high blood pressure, and skin diseases and have rose exponentially.

The prices of medicines for fever, kidney and vitamin have increased by 20%, 10% 15% respectively.

The cost of drugs used to treat diabetes have increased by 20% with the insulin, a key component in the treatment of diabetes, alone witnessing a price hike of 10%.

Further, it was found that medicines for pressure have also increased by 10%. Cough Syrups have also witnessed a price hike of 15%.

Some of these medicines are –

Glycomet (for diabetes) - previously costed Rs. 95, now Rs. 106.

Pan-D (for gas) - previously costed Rs. 10, now Rs. 12.50.

Udiliv (for liver) - The price shot up from Rs. 641 to Rs. 694.

Novomix 30 penfill (Insulin) - from Rs. 730 to Rs.774.

GTN Arbitrate – CR 2.6 (for heart) - increased from Rs. 185 to Rs. 207.

Additionally, the prices of various oinments for skin diseases have also soared effectively. It may be mentioned that the price hike in medicines have been consistent every two months, according to a report.

On being asked about the price hike, a medicine seller in Guwahati said, “We have no choice as we are retailers. If we get the medicines at a higher price from wholesalers, we will have to sell it at higher price as well. Sometimes we do give discounts but with the prices increasing almost every month, it gets difficult.”

Meanwhile, drugmakers have claimed that the increase in prices of raw materials as well as transportation have caused the prices of medicines to spike. They also acknowledged the increase in prices of production costs over the years.

Additionally, the prevailing pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war have also impacted the economic sector, resulting in the increase in prices of essential commodities, they claimed.

It is evident that lifesaving medicines will cost more for the patients from now on but pharmaceutical companies argue that the increase in drugs is in the larger interest of patients.

“The price hike is certainly going to affect the patients, but there is also a business aspect involved in the manufacturing of drugs,” an official said.

“It was important to revise the prices to prevent the shortage of drugs in the market, which is already greatly affected due to the pandemic and now the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war,” he added.

“The manufacturing costs have been greatly impacted by multiple factors and the increased prices under the purview of the government enables pharmaceutical companies to control the same,” he further said.

Also Read: Assam CM Served Death Sentences To 42 People: Bhupen Borah

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