Current price caps will stand, but rules on how new caps can be imposed are being tightened

The Indian government has intervened in an argument over pharmaceutical pricing controls, ordering the National Pharma Pricing Authority (NPPA) to withdraw internal guidelines describing additional circumstances under which price caps could be imposed.

The move relates to the NPPA’s decision in July to cap the prices of several cardiovascular and diabetes drugs ‘in the public interest’ because of large price differences between brands of the same drugs. This order has been challenged by industry groups, who say it is insufficient grounds to impose price controls.

The caps imposed in July will stand (at least until the court challenges are concluded), and the NPPA retains the power to impose new caps in emergencies and under extraordinary circumstances. However, the NPPA will not be allowed to justify caps based on inter-brand price differences.