Essential Medicines to Get Costlier from April 1, 2024 – Here’s Why

Essential Medicines Costly

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has issued a notice stating that prices of essential medicines will increase from April 1. This increase in prices comes after medicine prices were hiked by 12 per cent last year and 10 per cent in 2022.

According to the notice, the increase in the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the scheduled formulations by 0.00551 per cent from the beginning of fiscal year 2024-25. This change will be in line with the change in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for the preceding calendar year of 2023 over the year 2022. The WPI movement during the year is significantly low as compared to the increase since the year 2017.

The impact of this price increase will be seen in the essential medicines and it will also include painkillers, antibiotics and anti-infectives. The new prices will cover more than 800 drugs on the list, including drugs like paracetamol, azithromycin, vitamins, minerals, some drugs to treat COVID-19 infection, and steroids.

Based on the WPI data provided by the office of the Economic Advisor, Department of Industry and Internal trade Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the annual change in WPI works out as (+) 0.00551% during the calendar year 2023 over the corresponding period in 2022,” said the notice by the NPPA.

According to the notice, dated 27 March 2024, the manufacturers may increase the MRP of the scheduled formulations based on this WPI and no prior approval will be required from the government.

In another notice, the price regulator has also published the revised price effecting the WPI movement for all the scheduled drugs. The notification, dated 30 March 2024, reveals that fixation and revision of 923 Scheduled Formulations and Retail prices of 65 formulations. The list includes crucial drugs like Amoxicillin, Amphotericin B, Benzoyl peroxide, Cefadroxil, Cetirizine, Dexamethasone, Fluconazole, Folic Acid, Heparin, Ibuprofen etc.

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