From April 1, consumers will have to pay a higher price for as many as 384 essential medicines, including painkillers, antibiotics, and cardiac drugs. The prices will go up as much as 12 per cent. This is the highest-ever annual price increase for essential drugs.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, which regulates the prices of essential medicines, annually comes out with changes in the price of drugs based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI). The authority, in a recent notification, said the annual increase in the wholesale price index was 12.12 per cent, resulting in the sharp increase in prices of essential drugs and over 1,000 formulations.
This is the second consecutive year that the authority is hiking the prices of essential drugs by over 10 per cent. Last year, there was a 10.7 per cent hike in the prices of essential medicines.
The decision to raise prices was to make sure that there is no shortage of essential drugs in the market. “Manufacturers will not sell at a loss and we must ensure a steady supply of essential medicines in the country. Additionally, the prices are allowed to rise in a controlled manner,’’ The Hindu quoted a health ministry source as saying.