Govt stalls plan to cut drug prices after pushback from pharma companies

Govt stalls plan to cut drug prices after pushback from pharma companies

India’s proposal to curb drug prices by stripping generic medicines of their brand names has stalled after the plan faced pushback from the country’s pharmaceutical companies, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The Draft Pharmaceutical Policy circulated last summer by the Department of Pharmaceuticals has made no progress since opposition emerged from the industry and among some government agencies, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are not public. While the department has been ordered to redraft the policy, a new one is not expected through the rest of the current government’s term ending in 2019, one of the people said. Officials at the Department of Pharmaceuticals, responsible for drafting the policy, did not offer comment despite multiple emails and phone calls. The government’s draft policy also called for sweeping changes to improve India’s manufacturing standards and enforcement, increased oversight of the drug price regulator and new rules covering how drugs are marketed. The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance and other industry bodies argued these changes would increase drug prices, cost jobs and hamper innovation. Industry Win The push to curb the branding of generic formulations was a risky one for India’s local drug industry, which last year derived about 80 per cent of its $30 billion revenue from so-called branded generics. The shelving of the policy is a win for drug makers, including the local unit of Abbot Laboratories and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the two with the biggest domestic market share. Shares of Abbott India Ltd. climbed as much as 2.8 percent in Mumbai on Friday, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. rose as much as 1 per cent, and Sun Pharma declined as much as 1.4 per cent. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.2 per cent as of 3 pm. medicines that have lost patent protection — are key to keeping health-care costs low.

India has emerged as the biggest exporter globally of generics, and the country’s generics have won favor with health authorities from the US to Japan. But in their home market, the Indian pharmaceutical companies often sell those same copies under their own brand names and charge more for them.

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