Pharma cos stay mum as govt seeks details of overcharging

25 Jun 2012Hindustan Times (Delhi)Himani Chandna Gurtoo

Pharma cos stay mum as govt seeks details of overcharging

Pharma companies in India are giving a cold shoulder to charges of overpricing. Literally.

Even after four months of receiving overcharging notices from the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP), not even one of the 500-odd pharma companies have responded to the charges. The DoP had sent the notices to the companies through the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), the industry body of Indian companies, and the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), which represents global pharma companies in India.

“After that, we also issued a public notice asking the companies to submit the details within 30 days but not even a single firm has replied,” Raja Sekhar Vundru, joint secretary of DoP, told HindustanTimes.

The DoP now is mulling to crack the whip on these companies with the help of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA). “We are contemplating to ask the NPPA to take charge of the matter,” said Vundru. “The NPPA will be the best body to decide the line of action and therefore, will calculate the amount of penalty to be slapped,” said Vundru.

According to senior officials in the department, the amount of penalty can go up to R4,000 crore collectively.

“Whenever a communication or notice is received by the OPPI as an association we circulate to all our members,” said Ranjit Shahani, president, OPPI. “Since it relates to the individual company’s situation, each company has to respond separately. If a reminder is received from the government, we will again share with our members.”

Ranbaxy, one of several to whom notices were sent, did not respond to emails and messages by HT.


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