Two Gujarat-based companies Claris Lifesciences and Intas Pharmaceuticals came under the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) net for overcharging prices of medicines flouting the ceiling fixed by the regulator.
Minister of State for chemicals and fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena today informed the Parliament that a number of drug companies have been found to be selling some of their medicines to consumers at a price higher than the ceiling notified by the NPPA. Following which the NPPA has raised a demand of Rs 130 crore from these companies for overcharging. "During the year 2012, (upto October 2012), NPPA has raised fresh demand for overcharging amounting to Rs 129.71 crore," Jena added. The minister also added that companies which have been issued fresh notices include Intas Pharmaceuticals, Ind-swift Ltd, Aventis Pharma and IPCA Lab. When contacted, Claris Lifesciences refused to comment on the matter.
Intas Pharmaceuticals could not be reached for a comment. Howeber, industry sources informed that around 60% of Claris' drugs in the market come under price control. The NPPA directly controls the price of 74 bulk drugs and of all formulations which contain either one or more of these bulk drugs. For these drugs, the pharma companies have to approach the regulator before raising prices. Claris Lifescines has a case pending in the Gujarat High Court where the company has challenged the NPPA's claim of overcharging.