Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
NPPA's U-turn on capping prices of 108 drugs for cardiac, diabetes

First, the drug regulator issued guidelines to control prices of drugs that were outside the list of essential drugs. When pharma companies reached court, NPPA withdrew its guidelines through a notification


The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has withdrawn guidelines it issued for price control on 108 drugs used in treatment of cardiac and diabetes. It must be noted that under the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), issued under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, NPPA was meant to regulate drug prices of medicines listed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). However, it tried to control prices of drugs that were not listed in NLEM and when pharmaceutical companies approached Courts, the drug regulator decided to withdraw its 'controversial' order.


In a statement, NPPA said, "In compliance with the directions received from the government in the Department of Pharmaceuticals...the aforesaid internal guidelines issued by the NPPA on 29 May 2014 under Paragraph 19 of DPCO 2013 are hereby withdrawn with immediate effect."


The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was set up in 1997 and vested with the powers to implement the DPCO but so far had little impact. At present, prices of 348 drugs are controlled under the NLEM. However, on 10th July, NPPA, invoking para 19 of DPCO, extended price control to drugs outside of NLEM and brought 108 cardiac and diabetes drugs under the price control mechanism.


Paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013, authorises the NPPA in extraordinary circumstances, if it considers it necessary to do so in public interest, to fix the ceiling price or retail price of any drug for such period as it deems fit.


Several industry bodies, including Indian Pharma Alliance (IPA), had criticised the NPPA's move. In fact, towards the end of July, the IPA challenged the NPPA notification in Bombay High Court. After consulting legal experts, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, under which the NPPA functions, told the Court that it would withdraw the guidelines it issued for bringing 108 cardiac and diabetes drugs.


However, this move has been criticised by Congress. In a blog post, Congress general secretary Ajay Maken, said, "While this move will get Shri Modi good PR and earn the Corporate houses undeserved profits, the common man – the middle and lower class Indian- will be left devastated by the sheer insensitivity of this move. It may be noted that India has about 4.1 crore diabetes, 4.7 crore coronary heart disease, 22 lakh tuberculosis, 11 lakh cancer and 25 lakh HIV/ AIDS patients, who along with their families are going to be severely hit by this anti-people/ anti-national decision."


According to Maken, the former minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet, the guidelines of NPPA had sought to widen the ambit of drug price regulation beyond the NLEM list. This was done by including Life Saving Drugs – for starters anti-cancer medicines, HIV drugs, anti-tuberculosis, anti-malaria, cardiovascular, anti-diabetes, anti-asthmatic drugs and immunological so that no company could price their products at a more than 25% mark up over the simple average of the products in that category.


"The guideline for price fixation for Life Saving Drugs has been a sore point with pharmaceutical companies’ particularly multi-national companies. Shri (Narendra) Modi is carrying to America as gift, the hard-earned money of the country’s poor. The beneficiaries of this unprecedented anti national move is only going to be the American pharmaceutical giants, Indian drug manufacturers and the US administration, even as crores of TB, Cancer, AIDS, Malaria and heart patients and their families will be made to pay through their nose for sustaining treatment," Maken added.


Here is a list of drugs whose prices would go up...


UPA policies and are NOW EXPECTED TO GROW UP



Name of Drug

Original Prices (Rs.)

Prices after UPA’s intervention (Rs.)


Tab Geftinate




Tab Nolvadex




Tab Veenat




Tab Glevec



Blood Pressure/ Heart

Tab Cardace 5mg.




Tab Seloken XL 50




Tab Losar 50mg.




Tab Plavix




Tab Moxicip 400




Tab Moxif




Tab Taxim O 200




Tab Augmentin 625




Tab Taribid 200




Tab Storvas 10




Tab Alprax 0.5




Tab Alprax 0.25












Inj. Huamn Mixtard




Tab Amaryl 2




Albumin 20




Anti D




Anti Rabis (Kamrab)




Tab Decdak 2




Tab Zyloric 100




Tab Ocid 20




Tab HCQS 200




Tab Megafreeflex




Tab Andriol








Tab Amdepin



T.B. Drugs













(NOTE: The list is taken from Mr Maken's blog, http://ajaymakenblog.wordpress.com/ )


NPPA was established to fix or revise prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995.


The organisation is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers and also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.



Micheal Roben

2 years ago

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Is China and Europe trying the wrong type of stimulus?
QE has not necessarily shown major benefits other than inflating stock markets. Injecting more money into economies that certainly do not need it is easy, but eventually those economies, like other addicts, will collapse as well
The word stimulus is magic for markets. Just the word or the hint of more stimulus will send markets to new highs. The highs are so dizzying that stimulus has often been compared to heroin. However, as any addict will tell you, to get the new highs you need a stronger dose. A slight mistake will lead to an overdose. Too much of a good thing and the addict drops dead. Central bankers and governments might take heed of the analogy.
A fortnight ago, the markets celebrated the news that the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) had injected a rather large amount into their banking system. They gave the five largest state banks Rmb500 billion ($81 billion). But will this do anything? Probably not. Presently during the first half of 2014, each new $1 of credit adds only twenty cents to GDP growth. This has been consistently coming down. In 2012, it was 29 cents for each dollar of credit and in 2007; it was 83 cents for each dollar. Therefore, the real amount of the stimulus was only about $16 billion.
Worse, the money went to the five largest state owned banks. Most of these lend only to large local state owned industries. These companies are very inefficient and many of these are either losing money or are on the verge of bankruptcy. For example, as I wrote in an earlier piece, 20 out of the 36 largest coal companies are losing money. Many of these are state owned. The same is true for other large state owned companies. About a third of steel, aluminium, and cement companies lost money. The new stimulus money will only be used to roll over unpaid loans. It will not stimulate new growth.
The sector of the economy that really needs the money is the shadow banking system where half the lending takes place. The real problem is the asymmetry of maturity dates. The trust companies make up the largest part of the shadow banking system. They took in money for a term of a few months promising to pay high interest rates. They used the money for loans of several years, often to real estate developers. As the real estate market slows, developers often cannot pay. Without new injections of money from the PBoC, there will be more defaults. How many of these will be bailed out is the next question.
China has stuffed itself with credit. Its economy is about half the size of the US and its money supply is 61% bigger and growing. The Chinese simply cannot use more money. The loan demand fell to 66% from 71%. Without demand, creating more stimulus might delay defaults but it would not prevent them.
Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), has a similar problem. He has been telling anyone who would listen for months that he could use “unconventional policy measures” to stimulate the Euro zone economy and avoid deflation. So far, this has meant a program known by its acronym, TLTRO. Under this program, the ECB offered three-year ultra-cheap loans to banks. The program offered €400 billion to the banks. Most economists did not believe that the banks would want that much. They forecast that banks would take only €150 billion. In the end, the demand was not even for that much. The auction of the loans resulted in banks borrowing only €82 billion. Worse, some banks paid off earlier ECB loans for €19.8 billion. In short, this unconventional policy measure failed.
The next “unconventional policy measure” will involve the ECB purchasing bundles of securitized assets. The ECB would love to purchase hundreds of billions of these things. But loan demand has been contracting since 2012. Securitized assets got a bad reputation in the crash, so there are simply not enough of them out there for the ECB to buy. This is especially true since the ECB is trying to reduce its credit risk by only buying the best. However, why should anyone want to sell anything that is paying a decent return?
Because of the problems with the other “unconventional measures”, markets expect the ECB to try quantitative easing. But this will involve the purchase of peripheral Eurozone bonds, specifically Italy’s.
Italy has a major problem. It has a very high debt to GDP ratio (over 130%). Its credit rating by Moody’s is Baa2 and by S&P BBB low medium investment grade a notch above junk. Its growth rate is very low even negative. Its working age population is falling and those Italians who are educated and still work are leaving. This combination of high debt, falling inflation or even deflation and a shrinking population is a recipe for default.
If Draghi wants to invoke QE for Europe, he has to convince the Germans that they should buy debt that may require a 50% write off. For me that sounds a bit far-fetched. No sane politician would agree to spend taxpayer money to buy anything with a high probability of losing money no matter what the benefits. QE has not necessarily shown major benefits other than inflating stock markets.
The real problem is that both the Europeans and the Chinese are trying the wrong type of stimulus. The right type of stimulus is the one proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He wants to bring India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index up from its present rank of 134 to 50. This is a monumental undertaking but it is the only one that will work. Injecting more money into economies that certainly do not need it is far easier, but eventually those economies, like other addicts, will collapse as well. 
(William Gamble is president of Emerging Market Strategies. An international lawyer and economist, he developed his theories beginning with his first-hand experience and business dealings in the Russia starting in 1993. Mr Gamble holds two graduate law degrees. He was educated at Institute D'Etudes Politique, Trinity College, University of Miami School of Law, and University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He was a member of the bar in three states, over four different federal courts and speaks four languages.)



Mahesh S Bhatt

2 years ago

Please view Results
Porter Stansberry Research - The End of America - YouTube its biggest challenge we all shall face when God knows.


Who Creates NPAs in Banks?

This is an interesting instance of how one bank approved a home loan on a property on which another bank had a lien. It exposes some interesting facets about the direction which the banking sector is headed towards. Banks keep crying hoarse about non-performing assets (NPAs), but who creates them in the first place? Your guess is as good as mine!

The details I am presenting are based on an informal conversation with one of the branch managers. They may not be accurate to the minutest detail. But the message is loud and clear. We have miles to go before our banking system can be cleaned up.

Somewhere around the year 2000, Corporation Bank sanctioned and disbursed a home loan to a buyer to build a property that was self-built by a home-owner. The EMIs were paid by the customers regularly for the first few years. Thereafter, EMIs stopped. we do not know what exactly happened. By this time, branch manager had moved and a new person was appointed.

The home loan fell into the category of NPA. But the Bank should have had the original property documents, right? Not surprisingly, the Bank did not have the original loan documents. It came to light later that another buyer had taken a loan from Vijaya Bank and had purchased the same property. Vijaya Bank had not bothered to check the past record maybe because they got the original property documents from the property buyer. So what about the loan that was due to Corporation Bank?

The matter has now gone to the court and the Bank is now negotiating with the first buyer to pay the balance, after waiving off a substantial amount.

This is only an example. There could be more such instances across the country. This branch manager also casually remarked how Vijay Mallya had to pay them Rs2,000 crore and Rs8,000 crore to SBI. Recently, IDBI Bank gave Mr Mallya a loan even when there was a recommendation not to do so by an internal committee appointed by the Bank.

More skeletons will tumble out of the cupboard. Bhushan Steel and Kingfisher Airlines are only some examples.

What about Subiksha? What about Vishal Retail? With the change in the government at the Centre, can we expect something earth-shattering to happen?

The approach to treatment of NPAs needs a complete overhaul. Wonder why RBI is mum on this aspect.
G Venkatesh, by email

Want of evidence?

This is with regard to “Litigation To Derail Justice” by Bapoo Malcolm. If, in a genuine case, the accused is let off for want of evidence and if the accused counterattacks, by filing a case for malicious prosecution against the complainant, will it not lead the poor complainant into hot waters?
Mohan, online comment

Bapoo Malcolm replies:
If there is want of evidence, do not file cases. Secondly, judges are no fools, no matter what the public may say. They see through the hanky-panky. Finally, action for malicious prosecution needs an OK from the attorney or advocate general. There are checks & balances built in; one must have the vision to use the correct mode.

Mind is designed to prove our beliefs
This is with regard to “We are still trying to find a good theory of the brain” by Prof BM Hegde. Thank you for pointing this out. I have been researching the question: “What makes humans thrive?” for a few decades by reviewing research from diverse scientific disciplines.

I often see research stating, “We observed ____ but need more research to understand it. But, because I don’t limit myself to one discipline, I’ve seen research in another area that explains and could have predicted the results.”

Multi-disciplinary research is difficult to publish because the peer review process wants an expert that can review the entire work to do so while some of the answers must cross disciplines. A committee review, with experts from each field, would be a workable solution.

I saw one paper that theorised that our brains were not storage devices, but sending and receiving towers. It indicated the functions we see in the brain are circuits that are activated based on where the station is tuned to receive or transmit.

The idea really resonated with me but I did not make a note of which paper it was in, expecting to see further work on the concept.

Quantum physics is providing answers about how quickly communication occurs in the body—something the old chemical reactions cannot do.

What I call The Galileo Effect makes many cling to the old paradigms until they fall under the weight of the exceptions required to shore them up. We need to consider the Parsimony Principle more often when the exceptions to what we believe to be true begin to pile up. When we understand how the mind is designed to prove our beliefs rather than show us the reality, we will do so.
Jeanine Joy, online comment

Follow-up on scams reported!
This is with regard to “Can you depend on mainstream media to report economic scams?” There is an urgent need to focus on the role played by the chartered accountants and legal professionals in colluding with the institutions and the top officials in perpetrating scams. The role played by middlemen is also equally important.

If the media, particularly those who want to expose the irregularities in the system, can concentrate and keep a watch on the accountants, auditors, legal luminaries, many scams can be prevented in major PSUs (public sector undertakings) and government institutions. Media can also make a strong propaganda to ensure that the system does not tolerate cash transactions for any commercial deals and the transactions are backed by proper receipts with all details like PAN, licence details, regulator’s details, etc. Media report some scams here and there, but cases get closed with the same speed as they are reported. The follow-up of the cases and how they get closed are not made known to public.
Gopalakrishnan TV, by email

Good proposal
This is with regard to “How to use Iranian funds kept with UCO Bank, while helping them” by AK Ramdas. A good proposal. A dedicated team should be assigned by the
Jyoti Dua
Enough for cultured societies
This is with regard to “When Justice Is Not Black and White” by Bapoo Malcolm. It is time humanity realises that no of amount laws can help an uncultured society. The more the laws, the merrier it is for some... no need to name them. The backbone of this great country’s culture was systematically broken by the foxy British. But, even after independence, we are only aping their laws, designed to benefit their rule. All we need is to re-establish our proven culture, where only a few sane guidelines (exemplified by gurus/ teachers) are required to to live by. It is enough for a cultured society.
Shadi Katyal

Guarantor’s protection?
This is with regard to “RBI says management, group companies can also be named as wilful defaulters”. To some extent, the guarantor does not have many of the ‘protections’ that a promoter may be able to use to delay or resolve issues under the present laws at SAFRAESI. This is going to be interesting.
Veeresh Malik

RBI should survive!
This is with regard to “The RBI’s ATM usage rule flies in the face of its own Consumer Charter” by Sucheta Dalal. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is bread and butter for many and the only remaining support for RBI pensioners like me. One Srikrishna (FSLRC) has recommended something close to demolition of RBI and, if people like you ask for straight demolition, someone may do exactly that. Interest rates were deregulated long back and the impression being created that lending rates are dependent only on RBI’s base rates is just an excuse proffered by government and banks to keep the burden of defence on the broad shoulders of the governor RBI. Let RBI survive. There are some reasons for that institution to survive—like currency management, public debt management, regulation of financial sector and so on.
MG Warrier


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