Wednesday 1 February 2023
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Economy‘News traders’ spread false news of withdrawal of control over drug prices

‘News traders’ spread false news of withdrawal of control over drug prices

The government as well as NPPA have actually appealed against the decision that had been taken by the pricing authority while exercising its autonomy.

Express NPPANew Delhi — There is yet another case of ‘news traders’, as Narendra Modi used to refer to a section of the media during the campaign for Lok Sabha elections, deliberately — or without adequate information on the subject — projecting the new government in a manner as if it were anti-people or cronyist. A section of the media carried reports this morning indicating that the government had withdrawn the power of NPPA to fix and/or revise prices under paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013, and also that the government had directed the NPPA to withdraw the notifications dated 10 July fixing prices of 108 non-scheduled drugs.

The Times of India presented the news as if the development were anti-patient while The Indian Express (ref: adjoining picture; click to enlarge) drafted the report in a manner as if the de-control move were a relief to big pharmaceutical companies that came just ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s US visit! gave no spin to the development, but was silent on the proceedings of the case in Delhi and Bombay High Courts.

The fact is, consequent to notification of National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Policy-2012 (NPPP-2012) on 07 December 2012 and notification of Drugs Price Control Order, 2013 (DPCO, 2013), the powers of the government were delegated to NPPA on 30 May 2013. The NPPA on 29 May came out with internal guidelines on fixation and revision of prices of scheduled and non-scheduled formulations under paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013. Consequent to that, the NPPA issued various orders on 10 July fixing prices under exercise of powers of paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013.

Thereafter, the guidelines of 29 May and orders of 10 July were challenged in Bombay and Delhi High Courts. The Union of India and NPPA, which have been made respondents, after careful consideration in consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice, decided to convey to the courts that the guidelines dated 29 May are to be withdrawn.

The action the NPPA took on 22 September must be seen in the above context. The government has neither withdrawn the powers delegated to the NPPA on 30 May 2013 nor has the NPPA been directed to withdraw the orders dated 10 July.

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