The government’s classification of essential medicines, which includes 384 drugs and over 1,000 formulations, is expected to experience a record 12% increase in prices due to a steep rise in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
What Happened? Annual price hikes for drugs listed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) are determined by the WPI, and these medicines are commonly used in government health programs and sold directly to retail consumers.
According to an Economic Times report quoting officials in the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, the WPI rose by 12.12% between January last year and this year, but it has yet to be officially notified. This is the second consecutive year in which the costs of essential medicines have risen by more than 10%.
"Such a drastic hike will distort the price controls in place on essential medicines; the government should intervene in the interest of maintaining the affordability of these drugs. Such high back-to-back price increases are undermining the purpose of price fixation of essential medicines," noted Malini Aisola, co-convenor of All India Drugs Action Network (AIDAN) speaking to ET.
The Health Ministry believes that the recent price hike was implemented to prevent any shortage of medicines in the market and to provide mutual benefits to both manufacturers and consumers, according to a report from The Hindu.
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