New Delhi: Government has a little role in controlling prices of patented drugs as the cost is decided by companies, Rajya Sabha was informed on Friday.
Patented drugs are mostly imported and companies have protection under the Patents Act, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertiliser Srikant Kumar Jena said during Question Hour.
The landed cost of the drugs is determined by companies and the government "has very little role," he said.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) price controls do not apply to the patented drugs. "They are protected under patent law," he said.
Drugs that are notified by the Health Ministry as essential medicines, come under price control, he said, adding 33 cancer drugs can be brought under price controls.
Health Ministry has give a list of 348 bulk durgs that need to be brought under price control, he said adding 614 formulations have been brought under price control.
Since inception of NPPA in August 1997, there are 885 cases where demand notices have been issued to pharmaceutical companies amounting to Rs 2,577.28 crore for selling medicines at a price higher than that fixed by NPPA.
"Till October 31, 2012, demand notice has been issued for Rs 2,577.28 crore (overcharging along with interest), out of which Rs 232.52 crore has been realised," he said, adding most of the remaining cases were under litigation and pending in various courts.