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Pharma Companies should resolve pricing issues – Court

The Delhi High Court, on Thursday, asked the pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis India and Cipla, to hold a meeting with the Union Government and try to resolve the issue of implementing the revised drug pricing.

A bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru said representatives of the pharma companies hold a meeting with the Director of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, to settle the matter ‘once and for ever’.

“You have meeting with the Director, NPPA, and come back in October. We expect the meeting shall take place and be concluded before the next date of hearing. You should try to resolve the issue once and forever. We are also tired of hearing it,” the court said.

The court has fixed the matter for hearing on October 30.

The court’s suggestion came while hearing a bunch of petitions moved by the pharmaceutical companies and an association of medicine manufacturing companies challenging the government’s new drug pricing order that asked them to slash prices of 348 medicines.

During the hearing, the pharma companies suggested that prominent boards of the revised drug prices could be displayed by retailers and chemists to inform the customers as calling back all the stocks and relabelling them was not feasible.

However, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain was not in agreement with the proposal and suggested an alternative of shipping stickers of revised prices to retailers who can then affix the same on the drugs.

The pharma companies did not agree with the ASG’s suggestion and termed it as impractical.

As both the parties were not agreeing with each other’s suggestion, the court directed them to hold a meeting.

The firms have also challenged the provisions of the 2013 Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) of NPPA that had asked them to replace stocks in the market with those carrying reduced prices within 45 days of new price notification.

Besides Novartis, the Indian arm of Swiss firm Novartis AG, pharma firms Wockhardt, Lupin, Intas Pharmaceuticals, Alembic Pharma- ceuticals, Sandoz Private Limited and Chiron Behring Vaccines Private Limited had approached the court against the new drugs pricing order.

Earlier, Cipla and four other companies had moved the court against the 2013 DCPO. — PTI

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