Market Updates

Extravagant Profiteering by Indian Pharmaceutical Companies: WHO

May, 2019

A recent assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) has highlighted that in India about 40% of the low-priced essential medicines are priced substantially higher than expected charges for production.

While the high cost of latest and novel drugs for cancer, hepatitis C, and rare diseases are making it unaffordable for many patients, there are many commonly used drugs that is off patent for a long period used in the treatment of tuberculosis and malaria but are priced very high than the manufacturing cost. This has increased the expenditure of the patients on healthcare.

extravagant profiteering

In India, where three-fourth of the expenditure for healthcare is out-of-pocket, the high price of the drugs has been pushing them to poverty. This situation is noted even with India being a manufacturing center and the chief provider of generic drugs at less price.

The research demonstrated that Indian rates were lesser than the general price of the medicines fixed by WHO in many cases, which was only in cases of government tender prices, which are suggestively lesser than the price in the private marketplace, which is more frequently practiced by individuals wanting medications in India.

Furthermore, many of the overpriced drugs in India remained only in the private market signifying a lack of accessibility to majority of the population.  Representatives from administrations and civil society establishments called for better clarity about the cost of R&D along with drug production to allow consumers to negotiate more reasonable prices.

Ms. Malini Aisola of All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) stated that “The market prices of medicines in India do not bear any resemblance to the cost of production. Unfortunately, the national pricing regulation applied to essential medicines has shifted from a cost-plus mechanism to a market-based mechanism in 2013. This has been challenged by AIDAN in the Supreme Court because the market-based mechanism is deeply flawed”.

- Rikitha
Healthcare - Research Analyst
Infoholic Research