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Cancer, Diabetes and HIV Drugs To Become Cheaper Post GST

Country's drug price regulator, NPPA has stepped in and released a notification on keeping the cost of key medicines affordable by revising prices of 761 drugs.

Cancer, Diabetes and HIV Drugs To Become Cheaper Post GST

Regulator takes pre-emptive action for 761 essential medicines

The uncertainty brewing over the tax slabs levied on drugs post-GST (Goods and Services Tax) and the expected crisis in the market had left the pharmaceutical industry and the people in a problematic situation. Around 80 per cent drugs were put in the 12 per cent GST bracket (up from the current 9 per cent slab), implying a sharp rise in prices. The drugs prices of those which fall under price control were expected to rise by 2.3 % after the rolling out of GST on July 1.

But the country's drug price regulator, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has stepped in and released a notification on keeping the cost of medicines affordable after having a discussion with the Pharmaceutical companies and other sectors associated with companies that deal with essential drugs.

Also read: Expected Rise In Drug Prices Post-GST Create Panic

The pharma pricing regulator has notified the revised ceiling prices of 761 drugs which are part of the Schedule 1 of the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013. According to the revised list issued by the NPPA, prices of most drugs have come down, which includes a list of antibiotics and drugs for treating cancer, HIV, diabetes. "To facilitate smooth implementation of GST for companies, we have worked out the provisional ceiling prices of 761 formulations," said NPPA chairman Bhupendra Singh.

With this regulatory move, the price increase after the GST regime would be nominal as the base price has been lowered. Even as price revision is an ongoing process, the latest order may serve to cool the nerves of the pharma industry as well as the people, trying to grapple with the new taxation system.

Must read: GST: Your Private Health Care Costs Might Increase

The actual increase or decrease in drug prices post-GST is expected to be in the range of 2-3% depending on states.

As per the provisional revised list, ceiling price of various cancer drugs like Bortezomib, Docetaxel and Gemcitabine have been reduced.

1. Ceiling price of Bortezomib has been fixed at Rs 11,160.08 per pack, from Rs 11,636.60 which is the current price, while that of a pack of Docetaxel has been fixed at Rs 10,326.94 from Rs 10,767.88 currently.

2. Price of Gemcitabine will be expected to come down to Rs 4,813.94 per pack from the current rate of Rs 5,019.49. Also, medicine for treating breast cancer, Trastuzumab injection pack has been fixed at Rs 54,582.25 post July 1, down from Rs 56,912.83 earlier.

3. Ceiling price of HIV combination drug of Tenofovir (300mg), Lamivudine (300mg) and Efavirenz (600mg) has been fixed at Rs 89.69 per tablet, from Rs 93.52 per tablet earlier.

4. Price of one tablet of HIV drug treating Darunavir has been fixed at Rs 151.4, down from Rs 157.93.

5. The cost of one tablet of Lamivudine and Zidovudine combination has been reduced to Rs 18.20 from Rs 18.98 currently.

6. Ceiling price of Eplilespy drug Levetiracetam has also been reduced.

7. Price of single tablet of Diabetes drug Metformin has come down to Rs 3.31 from Rs 3.45 currently. Paracetamol 500 mg tablet cost has been fixed at Re 0.82 from Re 0.85.

8. Ceiling price of Atorvastatin tablets, used to treat hypertension, has also been reduced.

9. Similarly, the ceiling prices of various antibiotics like Azithromycin, Ciprofloxacin, Clarithromycin, Ampicillin, Amoxicillin have also been lowered. Ibuprofen and Imatinib prices are also fixed at a lower slab.

10. Price of one tablet of Entecavir, used to treat Hepatitis B, has come down to Rs 69.44 from Rs 72.40.

11. It said that ceiling price of drug eluting stents will however remain unchanged at Rs 30,180.

However, the drug price regulator said that the final decision on prices will be notified after GST comes into effect. NPPA has asked pharma companies to intimate corrections by June 29.

While most of the drugs will fall under the 12% GST bracket, certain life-saving drugs are in the 5 per cent tax slab under the new regime. Analysts have maintained that the impact of GST will not be drastic on such drugs. But the industry is worried about input credit which is only 40 per cent for those without receipts.


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