Pharma firms may flood mkt with luxury condoms if price cap removed: Centre to HC

The Centre on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that if luxury condoms are removed from the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) then the manufacturers will flood the market with their expensive variety and make their lesser priced contraceptives scarce.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 12, 2014, 22:01 PM IST

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that if luxury condoms are removed from the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) then the manufacturers will flood the market with their expensive variety and make their lesser priced contraceptives scarce.

The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain who said "if we exclude high priced condoms from DPCO, they (manufacturers) may flood market with their high-priced varieties".

"They may even make their lower priced brands/products scarce or in poor packaging which may not inspire confidence in the consumers," the ASG said adding that it could lead to creation of a class within a class.

The court said in response that the government can impose conditions on the companies to maintain the same proportion of manufacture as of now.

The court was hearing a plea by pharma firms Reckitt Benckiser and J K Ansell Ltd (JKAL) which have challenged the government's decision to put a ceiling on the prices of condoms by including the product in the DPCO.

On the last date of hearing, the court had queried what was the issue if consumers are willing to pay for premium or luxury male contraceptives.

The government had earlier said condoms are currently in the national list of essential medicines and there can be no gradation, of luxury and ordinary, where drugs are concerned.

The pharma firms have in their pleas contended that their products are 'devices' and not 'medicines' and thus would not fall under the DPCO and therefore, no cap can be put on the prices.