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Cancer Drug Price Cuts

PB Jayakumar     May 28, 2019

India's drug pricing regulator, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) recently capped prices of nine more cancer drugs by up to 87 per cent. This caps trade margin at 30 per cent. Early this year, the government capped prices of 42 cancer drugs at 30 per cent to reduce prices by 85 per cent, which covered 72 formulations and 355 brands. These drugs cover about Rs 3,500-4,000 crore of India's pharma market, with a turnover of nearly Rs 1,30,000 crore in 2018.

Domestic cancer drug sales are growing at 20 per cent annually for the past few years, while global growth is half of that. It is estimated that many of these drugs are sold at 7-8 times the manufacturing price. India has about 2.2-2.5 million cancer patients and over 1.1 million new cases are detected every year. Since most Indians are not covered by health insurance, capping profits is a welcome move.

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