|Monday, July 10, 2000,
MNCs flout law, fleece patients
ROHTAK, July 9 — Are some multinationals (MNCs) and major drug manufacturing companies “flouting” the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) of the Union Government by printing prices higher than the maximum permissible retail price for various drugs sold in the market? The query becomes valid against the findings of a survey conducted by the Haryana State Chemists and Druggists Association (HSCDA) recently.
The association in a letter written to the drug control authorities and the national Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) raised the issue of over-pricing and demanded action against the companies violating the rules. The HSCDA said it had been found in its raids and inspections that a large number of drug products were being sold “openly” in the market at prices higher than the permissible prices and retail chemists charging these higher prices. Interestingly these higher MRPs were even printed on the products by the companies allowing ‘legalised’ sale of drugs at inflated prices.
The DPCO is an order issued under the essential commodities act, 1955 which regulates the prices of drug products and empowers the government to fix retail prices of drugs. The Union Government has set up a (NPPA), which has been assigned the responsibility to fix revise and enforce the price of the drug under the DPCO, 1995. The NPPA has fixed a number of ceiling price drugs applicable to all units including the small scale units and a consolidated list of such products and prices is circulated from time to time.
A few months ago drug control officials had detected, a drug manufacturing unit of Gujarat and some retailers violating the drug price order and a criminal case is pending in the court in this context.
The HSCDA Secretary, Mr B.R. Singh in his letter has claimed that a survey of invoicing records found that companies including some major ones had been charging from 100 to 1200 per cent of the billing rate.
The association has given a list of drug products for which the rates charged are higher than the rates fixed and their manufacturers. According to the list a 10x10 pack of Ciprofloxacin, 500 mg which is priced at Rs 246.75 per unit for stockists is being sold for Rs 612.60.
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