The people are already coping up with the price rise of petrol, diesel, LPG, edible oil etc and to add woes to the worries the prices of essential medicines including painkillers, anti-infective, cardiac and antibiotics are likely to be increased from next April.
The Centre has already given nod to hike the prices of medicines in line with the change in the annual Wholesale Price Index (WPI). According to the drug prices regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, the annual change in WPI notified by the government works out to 0.5% for 2020. The prices of scheduled drugs are allowed an increase each year by the drug regulator, in line with the annual WPI.
The pharma industry were dissatisfied with the increase for the year, and having been impacted with a nearly 15-20% surge in manufacturing costs during the year, the pharma industry plans to seek a 20% increase. The industry feel that the percentage of increased price is too small as due to the pandemic, the industry was impacted by a rise in prices of key raw materials, sea freight and an increase in packaging material, among other rising costs.
According to reports the ingredients of these medicines are imported from China and pharmaceutical ingredients dependence on China is around 80-90 percent. The pandemic led to disruption of supplies leading to higher costs to importers. Meanwhile, China has also increased prices of key inputs by 10-20 percent once supplies resumed last year.
The government recently extended the increased the price of Heparin injection which is used in Covid treatment till September 2021 by 50 percent after receiving requests from companies.