The projected incidence of patients with cancer in India among males was 679,421 (94.1 per 100,000) and among females 712,758 (103.6 per 100,000) for the year 2020. Most Indian patients bear their expenses out of pocket. The escalating costs forces them to compromise treatment and sometimes avoid necessary medical care. This has a negative impact on quality of life and overall survival. Reducing prices of chemotherapeutics by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a welcome step. NPPA is an organization of the government of India, to revise the prices of drugs under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order. Effective since March 8, 2019, under the NPPA order, 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs have received a price cut up to 85%, capping the maximum retail price (MRP). The margin ought not to exceed 30% above the price to stockist, giving the new MRP leading to INR 800 crore (8 billion) annual savings.
The price difference (pre and post NPPA) for the 42 drugs, annual savings and average reductions was calculated.
Average price reductions: Table: 1504O
|DRUG||AVERAGE PRICE REDUCTION (IN %)|
Price cuts under NPPA have immensely benefitted patients in India, where most pay out of pocket. Annual savings amount to INR 800 crore. More patients will be empowered to continue treatment. NPPA needs to revise prices of trastuzumab, rituximab, TKIs and immunotherapy too. COVID-19 has led to loss of jobs and erosion of savings, with increments in health expenditure. Cancer care adds to the burden and thus any reduction in prices would be a boon.
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All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.