Gujarat tops the list of cases where pharmaceutical companies have overcharged the customer for a drug whose price ceiling has already been fixed by the
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) , informed the state drug controller.
H G Koshia, commissioner, Food and Drug Control, Administration (FDCA), Gujarat said, "In a meeting with the NPPA last month, over 1000 cases of overcharging by companies was reported, of which around 600 cases were reported from Gujarat." The NPPA directly controls the price of 74 bulk drugs and of all formulations which contain either one or more of these bulk drugs. For these drugs, the pharma companies have to approach the regulator before raising prices. Pharma companies, which flout the ceiling price fixed by the regulator are issued notices by the regulator and the excess amount is collected from them. "State drug control authorities keep a tab on medicines that come under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), and check if any company is overcharging the consumer. These cases are then reported to the NPPA, which then issues notices to these drug companies and retrieves the excess money charged with interest", Koshia explained.
The NPPA has already raised demand for around Rs 130 crore this year from drug companies for overcharging.
These 1000 cases recently reported will now be reviewed by the regulator and it can raise demand for retrieving excess amount by next year, Koshia informed.
Guj FDCA revamps sms-alert system for fake drugs
Meanwhile, the Gujarat FDCA is all set to launch a revamped and upgraded version of its pioneered sms-alert system for fake drugs on Monday. Gujarat was the first state in the country to implement an online drug alert system for retailers through short messaging service (SMS). Now, it is all set to launch an upgraded version of the system, whereby a consumer can send an sms to the FDCA mentioning the batch number of a particular medicine he has bought and would get an instant reply on whether the drug is fake or not. States like Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa, Andhra Pradesh are keen to follow the Gujarat model of sms-alert for unsafe drugs. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently has evinced interest in replicating the Gujarat FDCA model in developing countries.