Anti-cancer drug price regulation in India: Financial implications and annual savings to patients

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Published: 20 Sep 2021
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Dr Krishnamani Kalpathi - American Oncology Institute, Hyderabad, India

Dr Krishnamani Kalpathi talks to ecancer about his paper Anti-cancer drug price regulation in India: Financial implications and annual savings to patients.

He begins by giving some background to the study, explaining that most Indian patients bear their expenses out of pocket. The escalating costs forces them to compromise treatment and sometimes avoid necessary medical care. This has a negative impact on quality of life and overall survival.

Dr Kalpathi then talks about the NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority), an organisation of the government of India, to revise the prices of drugs under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order. Under the NPPA, 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs have received a price cut up to 85%, capping the maximum retail price. The margin ought not to exceed 30% above the price to stockist, giving the new MRP leading to INR 800 crore (8 billion) annual savings.

He concludes by saying that the NPPA is only one part of the whole story, the general issue is with cancer drugs and their affordability, accessibility and sustainability, which can only be overcome with combined world-wide scientific research, government policy, strong government backing and industry participation.