Essential medicines to get costlier by 12% from April 1; prices already rose by 20%, say consumers

The Centre has allowed drug manufacturers to increase ceiling prices of around 900 scheduled drugs from April 1, in line with the change in the annual wholesale price index (WPI)

Published: 31st March 2023 10:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2023 10:23 PM   |  A+A-

A woman buying medicines at a pharmacy (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Prices of essential drugs and lifesaving medicines will increase by 12.12 per cent from April 1. But, according to a survey, consumers are already feeling the burden as prices of drugs, especially for diabetes, BP, arthritis, and cancer, increased by 20 percent in the last one year.

The survey said that six in 10 consumers experienced a 20 percent hike in medicine prices in the last 12 months, and another 12 percent increase from April 1 will hurt them badly.

LocalCircles, India’s leading community social media platform, surveyed 34,000 consumers in 323 districts of India and found that 56 percent of consumers indicated that the MRP of commonly used medicines had risen.

It also showed that most consumers want the central government to cap trade margins on medicines between 50 and 100 percent.

The Centre has allowed drug manufacturers to increase ceiling prices of around 900 scheduled drugs from April 1, in line with the change in the annual wholesale price index (WPI).

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“The survey indicates that people have been feeling the pinch of medicine price increases in the last 12 months, and another increase of 12% will only cause more pain,” said Sachin Taparia, Founder of LocalCircles.

He said the survey found that 6 in 10 consumers have experienced a price increase of 20% in medicines in the last 12 months, with 89% experiencing a significant increase in prices of specialised medicines and 57% confirming a considerable price increase in prices of generic medicines.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) announced on March 27 that the annual change in WPI in 2022, as notified by the Centre, is 12.12 percent. Painkillers, antibiotics, anti-infectives and cardiac medicines are among the drugs whose prices will increase from Saturday.

Scheduled drugs, including painkillers, anti-infectives, cardiac drugs and antibiotics, are part of the national list of essential medicines. The NPPA regulates their prices.

The rest -- non-scheduled drugs outside price control -- are allowed an annual increase of 10 percent yearly.

Last year, the NPPA announced a change in the WPI by 10.7 per cent. This is the second year in a row that the increase in scheduled drug prices will be higher than non-scheduled drugs (drugs not under direct price control).

India Matters


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