Prelims level : Health Mains level : GS 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
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The government announced a massive reduction in the prices of anti-cancer drugs and put out a list of 390 drugs that will get price slash.


  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has put out the list of 390 anti-cancer non-scheduled medicines with MRP reduction up to 87 per cent. The revised prices came into effect from immediately.
  • On February 27, the authority had put 42 anti-cancer drugs under “30 per cent trade margin” cap to enable price reduction.
  • Manufacturers and hospitals were directed to convey the revised MRP on the listed drugs, based on the revised trade margin formula.
  • As many as 390 brands, 91 per cent of the 426 anti-cancer brands reported by manufacturers, showed downward price movement after the February 27 move.
  • The range of reduction is 75% and more for 38 brands; 50 to 75% for 124 drugs; 25 to 50% for 121 drugs; below 25% for 107 drugs.
  • The manufacturers of these 42 drugs have been directed not to reduce production volume of brands under regulation.
  • The trade margin rationalization for 42 anti-cancer drugs was rolled out as proof of concept stressing on the new paradigm of self-regulation by the industry.
  • The government’s move, however, is unlikely to affect pharma companies. The new notified formula for fixing the maximum retail price (MRP) of 42 cancer drugs is based on the price at the first point of sale of the product or price to stockists.
  • The average ‘out-of-pocket’ expenditure for cancer patients is 2.5 times that for other diseases. This move is expected to benefit 22 lakh cancer patients in the country and result in annual savings of Rs 800 crore to consumers.


  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India.It comes under Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
  • The NPPA regularly publishes lists of medicines and their maximum ceiling prices.
  • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
  • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority.
  • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps.
  • To collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations.
  • To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals.
  • To recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government.
  • To render advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy.
  • To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.
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