New Delhi, October 11, 2014 – Centre’s decision to decontrol prices of 108 cardiac and diabetes drugs was today challenged before theSupreme Court which agreed to hear the case “as soon as possible”.

The PIL alleged that hike in prices of life saving drugs is against the public interest and would lead to windfall gain to the pharmaceuticals companies at the cost of endangering lives of million of Indians.

Advocate M L Sharma, who filed the petition and mentioned the case for urgent hearing, submitted that allowing pharmaceuticals companies to raise price as per their choice to secure wind fall gain involves serious corruption and also a life threat to the common general public.

“There are around 4.1 crore diabetes, 5.7 crore coronary heart disease, 22 lakh TB, 11 lakh cancer, 25 lakhHIV/AIDS and 6 crores blood pressure patients in India which are facing life threat and another life threat due to impugned circular for decontrolling order and price rise in medicines,” the petition said.

Drug pricing regulator NPPA had withdrawn guidelines for price control issued under Para 19 of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 2013.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had invoked Para 19 of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO) to cap prices of 108 cardiac and diabetes drugs on July 10.

The drug regulator, in an earlier notification, had invoked Paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013 to bring 108 anti-diabetic and cardiovascular formulation packs under the price control.

Under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013, the Government already controls the prices of 348 drugs listed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).

By invoking para 19 of DPCO, NPPA had extended price control to drugs outside of NLEM. PTI