India's National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has introduced price caps on various formulations used for treating diabetes and mental health conditions.
This decision follows a report by the Indian Council Medical Research indicating a 44% increase in diabetes patients over four years. The NPPA's move targets drugs for diabetes and anxiety, aiming to make them more affordable.
The regulator directed manufacturers to lower prices, with non-compliance leading to deposits of overcharged amounts. The initiative reflects efforts to address the rising incidence of diabetes in India, emphasizing the need for lifestyle modifications and awareness campaigns.
As part of the price controls, the retail prices of several diabetes drugs have been capped, including vildagliptin and metformin hydrochloride at ₹13.68 per tablet and a combination drug of sitagliptin, pioglitazone, and metformin hydrochloride at ₹17.69 per tablet.
Additionally, medications for treating depression and anxiety, such as paroxetine (controlled release) and clonazepam capsules, have new price limits.
Experts, including Dr. Seema Gulati at the Diabetes Foundation of India, recognize that lowering drug prices is a crucial step, but they emphasize the need for a comprehensive approach to combat the high incidence of diabetes. Dr. Gulati highlights the importance of lifestyle modifications, including changes in eating habits and increased physical activity.
She stresses the necessity of policy changes such as clear labeling of packaged food items and robust awareness campaigns. Addressing the sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits is crucial not only for adults but also for children, who are increasingly diagnosed with diabetes and insulin resistance.
The NPPA's measures are part of a broader initiative to enhance accessibility to essential medications and address the multifaceted challenges posed by the rising prevalence of chronic conditions in the country.