Retail prices on several anti-cancer medications slashed

The retail prices of some anti-cancer drugs have been cut by 87 percent by the drug price control authority in India.

After reviewing data collected from drug manufacturers, The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s (NPPA) 15 May memorandum has bought nine anti-cancer drugs in its price control framework.

Some of the drugs included in this price cut are:

  • Pemetrexed (brand name Pemxcel) – down to Rs 2800 from Rs 22,000 (500mg); and Rs 800 from Rs 7,700 (100mg)
  • Erlotinib tablets (brand name Erlotaz) – down to Rs 1840 from Rs 6,600 (100mg); and Rs 2,400 from Rs 8,800 (150mg)
  • Epirubicin (brand name Epichlor) – down to Rs 276.8 from Rs 561 (10mg); and Rs 561 from Rs 960 (50mg)
  • Everolimus (brand name Lanolimus) – down to Rs 406 from Rs 739 (0.25mg); and Rs 726 from Rs 1,452 (0.5 mg)
  • Leuprolide acetate hormonal therapy injection (brand name Leuprogon Depot) – down to Rs 2,650 from Rs 3,990.

“Most of these are commonly used in several cancer therapies,” said Dr T Raja, senior oncologist, Apollo Speciality Hospital. “The cost cut will be extremely beneficial to patients, particularly those who spend out of their pocket.”

This is the second time that the NPPA has announced a price cut on anti-cancer drugs since March 2019. In February it brought 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control, capping a trade margin of 30 percent through trade margin rationalisation. This resulted in at least 72 formulations and over 390 brands having reduced costs.

Heath industry spokespersons have said that drug manufacturers have been asked to not cut down on production volumes following this memorandum.