The Central government has decided that from January 2015 all regulated drugs will show 'DPCO Scheduled Drug' label in black ink on a bold red strip and their ceiling price per unit, an official source said.
"The proposal under consideration is to make it mandatory to display a scheduled drug by way of a distinguishing mark (maybe a bold red strip with the words 'DPCO Scheduled Drug' printed on it in black ink) and also to mention its ceiling price per unit," the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) quoted in its November 14 notification.
All scheduled drugs under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) come under price control.
"This measure will not only enhance consumer awareness and vigilance, but also enhance accountability and self-regulation among the pharmaceutical industry and trade," NPPA said in a statement.
With this move, lifesaving and essential drugs will be easily available and affordable to the people. These medicines are covered under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, and the DPCO 2013.
But NPPA says people are not educated regarding these details, including that of There price fixation under the DPCO. In any overcharging is done, consumers can call NPPA helpline number 1800111255 or voice helpline 1800114424 to file a complaint.
The biggest task for the NPPA is to monitor ceiling/retail price compliance for scheduled drugs/new drugs.
The NPPA says it is trying its best to stop overcharging by pharma companies. Between 1997 and August 2014, NPPA has lodged around 1,056 cases against pharma companies such as Cipla, Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy's and Pfizer. Together this amount is Rs 3,800.85 crore. But NPPA has been able to get back only about Rs 341.87 crore as on August 31.