Up to 400 percent price variation found in same generic medicines of different brands

  • Department of Drug Administration says it was unaware about price variation
- ARJUN POUDEL, Kathmandu

Apr 15, 2019-

According to a study carried out by the Nepal Health Research Council, same generic medicines of different brands are being sold in the market with huge price variation, with some brands selling their products at a price 400 percent higher than others.   

The Department of Drug Administration, the national regulatory agency of the drug market in the country, however, said that it is unaware of the price variation in the market.

The council carried out its report by randomly selected 12 generic medicines from different brands and comparing their prices.

According to a report published by the Council, the maximum price variations were identified in Cefixime 200 mg tablets and Tamsulosin 0.4 mg capsule [almost 400 percent]. Cefixime is an antibiotic used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections, while Tamsulosin is used by men to treat symptoms of enlarged prostate.

Likewise, 386 percent price variation was found in Amlodipine 5mg tablets, followed by Ciprofloxacin 500 mg tablets [193 percent], Metformin HCL tablets [177 percent], Losartan tablets 50 mg tablets [171 percent] and Cefiximime 200 mg dispersible tablet [149 percent].

Amlodipine is used to treat high blood pressure and Ciprofloxacin 500 mg tablets are an antibiotic used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. Similarly, Metformin is used to control high blood sugar and is prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetics.  Losartan tablets 50 mg is also used to treat high blood pressure and Cefixime 200 mg dispersible tablet is an antibiotic.

The Council had also tested 45 different generic samples comprising 172 brands in two laboratories in which nine brands failed to comply with the required standards.

Megnath Dhimal, senior research officer at the council, said that it was up to the Health Ministry and the Department of Drug Administration (DDA) to take further action. “We have presented the report. Now it is up to the Health Ministry and the DDA to take appropriate action,” said Dhimal.

Narayan Dhakal, director general of the administration, said that his office did not have the authority to force drug manufacturing companies to adhere to a similar price.  “We are aware about the price variation in some generic drugs, but didn’t know that the price difference was as high as 400 percent,” said Dhakal. “We will request the drug manufacturing companies to adjust the price variation.” He said that he had the Council’s report, but had not gone through it properly.

The administration is also unaware of the medicines of nine brands failing to comply with required standards. According to Dahal, the administration has prepared a working procedure that sets the maximum limit of drug price, and has forwarded it to the Health Ministry to present in the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Deepak Dahal, chairman of Association of Pharmaceuticals Producers of Nepal, said that the price variation was not a big issue. “Some manufacturing companies produce medicines in large quantities and sell them at a low margin,” said Dahal. “Smaller companies that cannot produce medicines in large quantities cannot sell at the same price as the big companies,” he said.  


Published: 16-04-2019 06:30

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