Essential Medicine: Marginal Increase in Prices Expected from April 1

National Desk, 18th March: From April 1 this year, essential medicines such as painkillers, antibiotics, and anti-infectives are poised to witness a slight uptick in prices.

The roster of essential medicines encompasses vital drugs like paracetamol, antibiotics like azithromycin for bacterial infections, anti-anaemia medications, as well as vitamins and minerals. Additionally, certain drugs crucial for treating moderately to severely ill Covid-19 patients, along with steroids, are included in the list.

Aligned with the annual alteration in the wholesale price index (WPI), the government is slated to authorize a .0055% escalation in drug prices listed under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).

Following substantial annual escalations of 12% and 10% in prices recorded last year and in 2022, this forthcoming increase represents a nominal adjustment for the pharmaceutical industry. The revised prices will encompass more than 800 drugs listed in the National List of Essential Medicines, with price revisions for scheduled drugs permissible once annually.

The industry has been advocating for a significant price hike owing to the escalating input costs it has been grappling with.

As per industry pundits, over the past few years, the prices of several key active pharmaceutical ingredients have surged between 15% and 130%. For instance, the price of paracetamol has skyrocketed by 130%, while excipients have witnessed an increase ranging from 18% to 262%. Solvents like glycerine and propylene glycol, utilized in various liquid preparations including syrups and oral drops, have surged by 263% and 83%, respectively. Additionally, intermediate prices have soared between 11% and 175%, with Penicillin G witnessing a staggering 175% increase.

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