The Supreme Court has asked the central government to reexamine its pricing policy for essential medicines after a group of non-governmental organisations challenged the provisions, a lawyer involved in the case said.
National pharmaceutical pricing policy to fix the ceiling price of essential medicines came under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court today seeking explanation from the Centre for fixing it on the basis of market rates.
A panel of ministers, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, is expected to meet next week to fine tune the drug pricing policy after the Cabinet deferred taking a decision on it following objections from the Finance Ministry.
Protecting the people's interest, the Supreme Court Thursday told the government that medicines should continue to be available at reasonable prices even after a decision on a new pricing policy is taken by November.
The court made it clear that the new NPPP (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy) which the government was bringing should not trigger any hike in the drug prices that are available in the market under the drug price control order.
The proposed new drug pricing policy will impact profitability of pharmaceutical firms, mainly multi-national companies, in India while at the same time lead to a 10-15 percent reduction in prices of medicines, according to a report by credit rating agency ICRA.