The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has reduced the rates of around essential 40 medicines, including drugs for asthma, diabetes, cancer and tuberculosis. The regulator, however, has hiked the prices of two medicines based on a review order issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals. “The reduction is in the range of 5% to 35%,” a senior official told The Times of India.

Companies will now have to revise the prices of their drugs accordingly. However, the prices of medicines whose maximum retail price is already lower than that fixed by the NPPA cannot be hiked. Any pharmaceutical firm not adhering to the new price cap will be penalised for overcharging consumers under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

The prices have been slashed under two categories. While the NPAA has reduced the rates of around 30 drugs already under price control, it has also included new ones under the criteria. With this, the regulator has brought 540 essential medicines under price control since March.

The NPAA is an independent regulator of prices in the pharmaceutical sector. The authority fixes and monitors rates of drugs that are part of the National List of Essential Medicine.