The HealthCare Global (HCG) Enterprises hospital has filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court opposing the Centre’s move.

Why this Bengaluru hospital is challenging Centres price cap on anti-cancer drugsImage for representation
Health Drug Pricing Wednesday, April 03, 2019 - 16:31

In early March, the government announced that it would be capping the costs of certain anti-cancer drugs in order to make them more affordable for those who require these medicines. However, Bengaluru-based HealthCare Global (HCG) Enterprises hospital has recently filed a petition opposing this move.

BS Ajaikumar, CEO of HCG stated that capping the price of the drugs will lead to decreased quality of care. A petition has been filed by the hospital with the Karnataka High Court, challenging the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s (NPPA) order to reduce the cost of almost 400 anti-cancer drugs. “There is Ayushman Bharat scheme for patients who can’t afford healthcare. Then there are government-run generic drugstores. So who is the government trying to help?” the CEO questioned, according to the Economic Times.

HCG in its petition has stated that the NPPA is pretending to be a supporter of improving public healthcare services.

What is the controversy surrounding the reduction in prices of anti-cancer drugs?

On March 8, the central government introduced a cap of 30% on trade margins of 42 anti-cancer drugs. This meant that those drugs listed under the capped ones would be priced at a cheaper rate than what they were being sold for previously.

However, following this announcement, several NGOs working in the health sector and the All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) raised important questions about the effectiveness of slashing the prices on the drugs listed by the NPPA.

"High prices of several drugs in the cancer segment may be linked to patent barriers and monopolies. In these cases, we do not recommend the exclusive use of trade margin capping to bring down prices but rather the application of various policy tools to increase competition and bring about true affordability,” the AIDAN reportedly stated.

It was further noted that several of the drugs which are used to treat cancers were not affected by this new pricing policy.

When TNM reached out to the legal representatives of HCG, they declined to provide any information pertaining to the cases and said that they would make announcements on Friday, April 6.

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