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Current Affairs 2023

Prices of Essential Medicines Set to Increase in India

As the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) increases in India, prices of essential medicines such as painkillers, anti-infection drugs, cardiac drugs, and antibiotics are set to increase from April 1. This article explores the implications of this price hike on Indian consumers and manufacturers.

Mar 30, 2023

3 min read

The prices of essential medicines are set to increase in India from April 1 due to a sharp rise in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI). This means that consumers will have to pay more for routine and essential drugs, including painkillers, anti-infection drugs, cardiac drugs, and antibiotics.


The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has announced an annual change in the WPI of 12.12% for the calendar year 2022, which is the highest since the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013 came into force. The price hike is intended to ensure that there is no shortage of medicines in the market, and that manufacturers and consumers mutually benefit. 


A senior Health Ministry official noted that when a 10% hike was allowed previously, several manufacturers kept the rate under 5% due to market forces. He expects a similar trend to occur with this price hike.


There is concern that the new WPI would trigger increases in the ceiling prices under the DPCO provisions for fixing prices for scheduled formulations. Such a drastic hike will distort the price control in place on essential medicines, and that the government should intervene in the interest of maintaining the affordability of these drugs.


In conclusion, the price hike of essential medicines in India is a cause for concern for both consumers and manufacturers. Consumers will have to pay more for routine and essential drugs, while manufacturers will have to sell at a higher price in order to make a profit. It is important that the government intervenes to ensure that essential medicines remain affordable and accessible to all.


About the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)


The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is an independent regulatory body established in India under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. Its primary function is to regulate the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in the country in order to make them affordable and accessible to the general public. The NPPA is responsible for fixing and revising prices of medicines, controlling the prices of bulk drugs and formulations, monitoring and enforcing prices, and conducting price analysis and surveys. It also regulates the pricing of medical devices, diagnostic kits, and surgical products. The NPPA plays a crucial role in ensuring that the prices of essential drugs are affordable to all segments of society, particularly the economically weaker sections.


What is WPI?


Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is an economic indicator that measures the changes in the prices of goods traded in bulk by wholesale businesses in a country. It is a measure of the average price level of goods at the wholesale stage and serves as an important tool for policymakers and businesses to track inflation and price trends in the economy. The index is published weekly by the Office of Economic Advisers, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, and is based on the wholesale price of a basket of goods. The WPI is calculated based on the price of goods at the first point of sale, before they reach the retail level. It includes goods such as minerals, crude oil, food items, chemicals, and manufactured products.

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