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Drug stocks take a tumble

Mumbai, July 14: Shares of pharma companies took a hard knock today after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) fixed the price of medicines used to treat diabetes and cardiac disorders.

Shares of Sanofi fell over 10 per cent as market circles felt the company would be worst affected. The Sanofi scrip plummeted Rs 325.40 to Rs 2,904.60 on the BSE. Selling was also seen in other pharma scrips: Cipla lost 0.71 per cent, Dr Reddys was down 0.55 per cent and Sun Pharma fell 0.51 per cent.

In a bid to bring down prices of some key medicines, drug pricing regulator NPPA has fixed the price of 108 non-scheduled formulation packs of 50 anti-diabetes and cardiac medicines, administering a bitter pill to a host of foreign and domestic pharmaceutical companies.

The NPPA said it was invoking Para 19 of the Drug Pricing Control Order to make the price revision.

Paragraph 19 of the price control order, authorises the NPPA in extraordinary circumstances, if it considers necessary to do so in public interest, to fix the ceiling price or retail price of any drug for such a period as it deems fit.

The drugs to become cheaper include atorvastatin, gliclazide, glimepiride, heparin and metolazone.

The prices of these drugs will drop 10-35 per cent, affecting around Rs 5,500 crore of the domestic pharmaceutical market.

However, the new prices, effective from July 11, will bring relief to consumers.

Analysts do not rule out the possibility of the regulator bringing drugs under other therapeutic categories such as anti-cancer over the coming months.

Experts said the latest revisions would bring around 58 per cent of domestic cardiac drugs under price control, while covering around 22 per cent of the anti-diabetes market.

The government controls the prices of 652 essential drugs listed on the National List of Essential Medicines.

 
 
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