Prices of essential medicines to rise up to 12% from April 1

A view of a pharmacy shop outside district hospital in Anantnag district in south Kashmir. [File Photo]

New Delhi: Essential medicines including painkillers, antibiotics, and anti-infectives are set to become costlier by more than 12% from next month. This is the highest annual increase on record in the prices of these medicines.

The prices of essential drugs are regulated by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, which annually announces the change in the upper cap of drug rates on the basis of wholesale inflation during the year.

In a notification issued on March 25, the agency said that the annual change in the wholesale price index was 12.12%, reported The Hindu.

Over 384 essential drugs, including antibiotics, painkillers and those used to treat cardiac ailments could get pricier from April 1 in the highest-ever hike that has been allowed, according to BloombergQuint. However, medicine companies could choose not to increase the prices of their products till the upper limit.

“Previously when a 10% hike was allowed, several manufacturers kept the rate under 5% because of market forces,” an unidentified health ministry official was quoted as saying. “We are expecting a similar trend with this hike as well.”

Last year, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority allowed a 10.7% hike in the prices of essential drugs. This was a sharp rise in the ceiling as prices were allowed to be raised only in the range of 0.5% to 4.2% between the financial years 2018 and 2022, according to BloombergQuint.

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