After failing to get a stay order from Delhi High Court on the latest round of drug price control order, the pharma industry has called for a dialogue with the regulators to resolve the row, saying such issues are best ironed out through dialogues than in court rooms.
"I think unless there is dialogue with the appropriate authorities, we are going to run into these kind of issues again. These issues are not to be settled in court rooms," a senior official of Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), who did not wish to be named, said on the sidelines of an event here over the weekend.
It can be noted that the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had on July 10 brought over 108 non-scheduled drugs under price control regime as per paragraph 19 of the DPCO (drug price control order).
The order had brought in as many as 108 anti-diabetic formulation packs and cardiovascular formulation packs under price control. This has disappointed the pharma industry.
Following this, the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) and the OPPI, challenged the order in the Bombay and Delhi high courts, respectively. While the Delhi High Court has refused to entertain the OPPI petition seeking a stay on the DPCO, the Bombay HC is yet to hear the IPA plea.
The Delhi High Court had on August 1 refused to stay NPPA's July 10 order fixing prices of 108 non-scheduled drugs, but sought responses from the pricing authority by September 29, when it will hear the petition.
Significantly, the Delhi HC observed that paragraph 19 of the 2013 DPCO does not restrict price fixation to only essential drugs. Paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013, authorises the NPPA in extraordinary circumstances, if it considers necessary so to do in public interest, to fix the ceiling price or retail price of any drug for such period as it deems fit, the court had said.
"The pharma industry is more than willing to partner with the government to achieve the vision of healthcare access for all.
"Focus on human resource augmentation, last-mile availability of medicines and stronger healthcare distribution will catalyse access to healthcare," OPPI president and Sanofi India managing director Shailesh Ayyangar said.
OPPI director general Ranjana Smetacek joined in saying, "Understanding the challenge is critical to achieving universal healthcare access and finding sustainable solutions. The government needs to lead the way in collaborating with the industry and all stakeholders.
"We need holistic solutions and all the stakeholders will have a role to play and the industry is willing to step forward and do its part."