New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought response of the National Pharma Pricing Authority (NPPA) on a plea by an organisation of drug manufacturers challenging the drug regulator’s July 10 notification that brought over 100 medicines under price control.
A bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru, however, refused to allow Organisation of Pharma Producers of India’s (OPPI) interim plea seeking a stay or status quo order preventing the government from taking any further steps in pursuance of its notification.
“I am not inclined to stay it or pass any ad-interim order. Issue notice. Respondent (NPPA) to file counter (reply) in three weeks and rejoinder thereto in two weeks. List on September 29,” Justice Bakhru said.
“Show that the power exercised by you (NPPA) is not unbridled as contended by them (OPPI),” the court said to the drug regulator which was represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain.
The court also observed that paragraph 19 of the 2013 Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO) does not restrict price fixation to only essential drugs.
Paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013, authorises the NPPA in extraordinary circumstances, if it considers necessary so to do in public interest, to fix the ceiling price or retail price of any drug for such period as it deems fit.
During the proceedings, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for OPPI, argued that NPPA has cited extraordinary circumstances to fix caps on the prices of over 100 drugs which are non-scheduled formulations and lie outside the scope of National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), but without saying what the extraordinary circumstances are.