Prices of essential medicines including painkillers, anti-infective, cardiac and antibiotics are likely to be increased from next April.

The Centre has already given go-ahead to hike the prices of medicines in line with the change in the annual Wholesale Price Index (WPI), The Times of India reported.

The annual change in WPI notified by the government works out to 0.5% for 2020, the drug prices regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority said on Friday.

Prices of scheduled drugs are allowed an increase each year by the drug regulator, in line with the annual WPI.

Not enthused with the increase for the year, and having been impacted with a nearly 15-20% surge in manufacturing costs during the year, the pharma industry plans to seek a 20% increase.

“We feel the percentage (allowed for increase) is too small. During the pandemic, the industry was impacted by a rise in prices of key raw materials (active pharmaceutical ingredients), sea freight and an increase in packaging material, among other rising costs. We plan to ask for an increase as a one-off increase from the government soon,” TOI quoted an industry executive as saying.

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