Drugs pricing row: 7 pharma cos move HC against Centre’s order

New Delhi: Seven more pharmaceutical companies including Novartis India Limited on Monday moved the Delhi High Court to challenge the government's new drug pricing order that asked them to slash prices of 348 medicines.
 
The firms have also challenged the provisions of the 2013 Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) that had asked them to replace stocks in the market with those carrying reduced prices within 45 days of new price notification.
 
A bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the Centre not to take coercive steps against the firms and asked the companies to provide details of the medicines, whose prices are to be slashed, manufactured and sold in the market.
 
Besides Novartis, the Indian arm of Swiss firm Novartis AG, pharma firms Wockhardt Limited, Lupin Limited, Intas Pharmaceuticals Limited, Alembic Pharmaceuticals Limited, Sandoz Private Limited and Chiron Behring Vaccines Private Limited approached the court against the new drugs pricing order.
 
Meanwhile, the court also issued a notice to the Centre and others including NPPA on a separate plea of Indian Drug Manufacturers Association on the issue.
 
Earlier, Cipla Ltd and four other companies had moved the court against the 2013 DCPO.
 
The DCPO had ordered reduction of prices of some medicines within 45 days of issuance of the notification and that the decreased prices be made effective on drugs already in market.
 
The deadline for implementation of the notification ended on July 29.
 
Granting interim protection against Centre's possible coercive measures for non-implementation of the DPCO, the court asked the firms to also file copies of the agreements entered into by them with "CNF agents/stockists/distributors, if any, within two weeks".