A week after Injeti Srinivas was removed from his post as the head of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the parliamentary committee on chemicals and fertilizers recommended that price caps be extended to all drugs in the country, and that the government should expedite the capping process.
The committee report stated, “The committee recommend that the scope of price control needs to be enlarged to make all the drugs available, especially life saving drugs in all parts of the country.” Reports indicate that the government is contemplating applying the price cap on tuberculosis and HIV AIDS drugs soon.
The committee report must come as a blow to Indian pharma companies. The industry was in despair last year when the NPPA decided to extend price caps to non-essential drugs. In fact, the NPPA head started his tenure with a big bang by capping the prices of non-essential drugs, which had the pharma industry up in arms. The removal reportedly is a consequence of several complaints from the pharma and medical devices industry. Readers may recall that the pharma industry had sought a stay from the Delhi HC on the price cap on non-essential drugs in August 2014. The plea was turned down, however, the government hastened to limit NPPA’s powers to impose price caps on non-essential drugs. Despite the uproar, there were reports about the NPPA mulling over capping the prices of another 100 non- essential drugs.
Incidentally, Srinivas’ removal came in after NPPA enforced the mandated annual increase in price of essential drugs by 3.8%.