SC refuses to interfere to decontrol drug prices

SansadTV Bureau

supreme_courtThe Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with the Center’s decision to de-control prices of 108 cardiac and diabetes drugs saying the issue can be raised before the competent authority through representation.

“You approach Center seeking modification in the order. If the Center does not do anything then you can come back,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and justices M B Lokur and A K Sikri said.

The PIL had alleged that hike in prices of life saving drugs is against public interest and would lead to windfall gain to the pharmaceuticals companies at the cost of endangering lives of millions of Indians.

Advocate M L Sharma, who filed the petition, submitted that allowing pharmaceutical companies to raise price as per their choice to secure windfall gain involves serious corruption and also a life threat to the general public.

“There are around 4.1 crore diabetes, 5.7 crore coronary heart disease, 22 lakh TB, 11 lakh cancer, 25 lakh HIV/AIDS and 6 crore blood pressure patients in India facing life threat and another life threat due to impugned circular for decontrolling order and price rise in medicines,” the petition said.

Drug pricing regulator NPPA had withdrawn guidelines for price control issued under Para 19 of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 2013.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had invoked Para 19 of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO) to cap prices of 108 cardiac and diabetes drugs on July 10.

The drug regulator, in an earlier notification, had invoked Paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013 to bring 108 anti-diabetic and cardiovascular formulation packs under the price control.

Under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013, Government already controls the prices of 348 drugs listed in the National List of Essential Medicines.