Pharmaceutical News: Pharma pricing must reflect wider values, progressive innovation

Pharma pricing must reflect wider values, progressive innovation: ABPI

Value-based pricing (VBP) for medicines must reflect the burden of the disease being treated, the wider societal benefits which treatments bring and the fact that innovation is often gradual, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has told the government.

Moreover, a voluntary agreement for the introduction of VBP for all medicines launched after January 1, 2014 must be accompanied by another pricing structure, similar to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), for products which are already on the market, the ABPI says, in its response to the government’s consultation on its proposals to introduce VBP for branded medicines, which closes on March 17. These schemes need to be created through “a well-planned process of co-creation between government and the industry,” it adds.

Commerce Ministry to go ahead with bar-coding of medicines

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will go ahead with the proposal for 2D bar-coding and a unique ‘randomly generated numeric code’ on packets of medicine destined for export, a senior official said.

According to P.V. Appaji, the executive director of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil, the ministry has set March 31 as the date for receiving objections and suggestions from the Pharma industry, which is opposing the move.

“The government will go ahead with implementation of the bar coding. However, the ministry has asked the industry to come out with their problems before March 31. Bar coding is fixed and the government will implement it as per schedule,” Mr. Appaji said.

The Commerce Ministry had recently made it mandatory for all medicines manufactured and exported out of the country to have a barcode from July 1.

Department of Commerce Additional Secretary Rajeev Kher held a meeting on March 10 with the representatives of pharmaceutical companies Torrent, Lupin and Fortis India, along with officials of Pharmexcil, sources said.

The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has made it mandatory for drug-makers to print a barcode on every product exported out of the country in the wake of overseas allegations that some local firms ship out counterfeit medicines.

Exports of pharmaceuticals from India stood at Rs. 40,000 crore last fiscal and are expected to witness a growth of 20 per cent this year.

The industry is opposing the move, saying it would incur an additional cost on the bar-coding procedure.

Any value edition to the product would affect pricing, said an official of city-based Natco Pharma.

“As it is, we have been facing serious competition from China on all fronts. Barcoding needs additional investment on manpower as well as machinery and thus puts pressure on pricing,” Natco Pharma Company Secretary and General Manager M. Adinarayana said.

Mr. Appaji said as per government estimates, bar-coding would cost 30 paisa per strip. “Putting barcode on primary packing is difficult and expensive, but secondary and outer layer of the export package will be acceptable for the industry,” he said.

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) recently indicated that it would make it mandatory for medicines intended for domestic supply to also bear barcodes. However, the government is yet to come out with an order in this regard.

Govt will protect interests of drug industry: Scindia

NEW DELHI: Amid concerns expressed by the Indian industry, the government today said in Parliament that it will protect the interest of the domestic drug industry while finalising the free trade pact with European Union .

“Public health concerns and interests of domestic drug industry will guide our negotiating position,” Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said in a written reply to Lok Sabha .

The two sides have already completed 12 round of talks since June 2007 for the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) for opening up commerce in goods, services and investment, he said.

The talks had hit roadblocks as there was pressure from EU members that social issues like environment, labour standards and TRIPS plus should be covered in the agreement. However, India has been resisting these efforts.

“India has clarified to the EU that it cannot accept provisions in the agreement, which are beyond TRIPS (Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) and domestic law,” he said.

The TRIPS agreement was signed as part of the multilateral trade pact of the WTO during the Uruguay Round in 1994. Under this, developing countries including India made several important changes in their domestic IPR regime to make it more stringent.

However, India is strongly opposing going beyond TRIPS in any bilateral free-trade pact, as the move could render a lot of genuine products like generic medicines and software illegal. It can restrict the ability of Indian pharmaceutical firms to produce and export generic or off-patent drugs.

Indian pharma industry and several NGOs have been strongly opposing the proposed bilateral pact on the grounds that it will require India to make TRIPS-plus commitment.

The EU and other developed countries believe a TRIPS-plus pact is a must for tackling the problem of counterfeit drugs.

The EU is India’s largest trading partner. The bilateral trade in 2009-10 aggregated to USD 75 billion. Both the sides are expected to conclude the negotiations by the end of this year.

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