Drug majors including Cipla, Sun Pharma, Pfizer, others owe Rs 6,550 crore overcharged amount : NPPA
New Delhi: Several drug majors including Cipla, Ranbaxy, Lupin, Glenmark, Sun Pharma have been accused of overcharging consumers to the tune of Rs 6,550 crore, as per the new provisional list released by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
The apex drug price regulatory body recently updated the list of provisional overcharging cases under litigation related to the Drugs Prices Control Order (DPCO) 1979, 1987, 1995, and 2013 against pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
The Authority decided to upload the provisional list of overcharging cases under litigation on its website so that companies involved may see the status of their case and if there is any discrepancy in the provisional list, the concerned companies may provide appropriate information/feedback.
"Such feedback from the companies would help in timely updation and reconsideration of data," NPPA said in its memorandum.
The list includes prominent drugmakers namely Cipla, Glenmark, Lupin, Pfizer, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Sun Pharma, Zydus Healthcare, and others. Over 100 pharma and medical device companies with a total of 324 products are part of the list.
A few of the formulations and brands for which the firms have overcharged consumers include Doxovent Tabs, Rosuvas 10 Tablets, Norfloxacin-based formulations, Benadryl Syrup, Doxiflon, Salbutamol, Ibuprofen, and Corex, and others.
The list mentions the matters dating back to 1997, the year the drug price watchdog was formed. These are cases where companies have moved court against allegations that they overcharged consumers.
In 2013, the total estimated overcharged amount, including interest, by various pharmaceutical firms since the inception of the NPPA in 1997 stood at a whopping Rs 2,150.38 crore. However, the authority could recover a paltry Rs 191.45 crore of this and have been litigating in various courts to recover the rest of the sum.
PTI had reported that the country's top two companies, Cipla and Ranbaxy, had accounted for over 50 percent of the total overcharged amount. While Cipla's overcharged amount stood at Rs 1,382 crore and that of Ranbaxy's was Rs 136.2 crore during the period.
Though the NPPA had been in litigation with Cipla over the issue, it was not able to recover any amount from the Mumbai-based drugmaker. However, the regulator had recovered around Rs 30 crore from Delhi-based Ranbaxy.
As per the updated list, even after paying the share of penalties levied on the firms, the total estimated overcharged amount including interest stands at Rs 6,550 crore.
Mumbai-based Cipla has to pay the maximum penalty, over Rs 3,000 crore (including interest but minus the sum recovered). For Sun Pharma, the penalty is Rs 250 crore, while, Ranbaxy, which merged into Sun Pharma in 2015, faces a penalty of around Rs 400 crore, the list added.
The authority has now given 15 days to the concerned companies to provide relevant data which will be further examined by the NPPA.
"Feedback from companies, seeking any modifications in the provisional list, should be appropriately backed by supporting documents. The interest amount in respect of cases included in the provisional list has been updated, wherever possible up to November 30, 2020. Any payment/part payment made has been adjusted from overcharged amount while updating the interest, due to which in some cases the date of updation of interest may vary. And the concerned companies may provide their feedback within 15 days from the date of publication of provisional list on the NPPA's website," NPPA clarified in its letter.
To access the official list, click on the link below:-