Set up tribunal to hear firms' drug price appeals: NPPA

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The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked the department of pharmaceuticals to set up a 
tribunal for appeals by companies against its orders. 

The recommendation was made during a consultative meeting the department of pharmaceuticals held with stakeholders on the draft pharmaceuticals policy. The department now considers all appeals against the NPPA’s orders. It can ask the NPPA to revise price ceilings for particular drugs. 

The NPPA has also asked the department not to change its structure by constituting an advisory committee on pricing, as suggested in the draft pharmaceuticals policy. Setting up of an advisory committee has been a long-standing demand of the industry. 

The NPPA has sought greater say in formulating the list of essential medicines. At present, the NPPA is not involved in the preparation of the National List of Essential Medicines. Its role is to fix prices of these drugs once they are included in the Drug Price Control Order. 

It has also asked the government not to take away its special powers to fix the ceiling prices of drugs when it lacks data or if there is a national emergency. The department proposes to allow the NPPA use this power only on its direction. The department used this provision to fix the price of coronary stents. 

The government also plans to allow the NPPA to fix prices only of ‘off-patent’ medicines. ‘In-patent’ medicines will not be 
subjected to price ceilings by the NPPA, according to the proposed draft. The draft suggests ‘overcharge’ be realised from the actual defaulting agency, manufacturers, distributors or retailers.

The government intends to amend the Drug Price Control Order so that the NPPA can monitor availability of drugs. It proposes 
to allow the NPPA to take time to fix prices of drugs instead of binding it to a 60-day deadline.

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