Pharma industry requests price revamp

Saturday, 9 May 2020 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

 Price revision of price-controlled drugs requested due to rupee depreciation says industry

  • Pharmaceutical Chamber in talks with Govt. to revise costs of price-controlled drugs due to rupee depreciation 
  • Says industry struggling to meet rising costs on top of non-payment of suppliers 
  • Over 70 types of price-controlled drugs account for 65% of market share 
  • NMRA says no consensus yet, final decision lies with Health Minister 


The Government is currently evaluating a price increase request from the pharmaceutical industry on over 70 types of price-controlled drugs and devices due to the Rupee depreciation, officials said this week.    

The Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) confirmed that the request had been made to the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) under the Health Ministry. The appeal to is due to the Rupee depreciation seen since May 2019 when the last price revision was made. 

SLCPI representatives insisted the decision was made taking the current COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka into account, but pointed out that the last price revision was granted when the exchange rate was at Rs. 178, and the currency has depreciated significantly since then, and the industry was struggling to bridge rising costs. On Tuesday the rupee recovered somewhat and was trading at Rs. 191.71 against the dollar, according to Central Bank data, after falling to Rs. 200 against the dollar in early April.

“Other types of goods under price control have formulas that are applied regularly but not for price-controlled pharmaceuticals. In India each year there is a revision for price-controlled drugs, which are listed out by the Government. Currency depreciation is a challenge for the industry and we have been in negotiations with the pricing committee to decide on a fair and equitable change in prices. The pharmaceutical companies are facing challenges due to the depreciation of the rupee that comes on top of suppliers being unpaid by the State. These sort of increases happen for other goods regularly,” SLCPI President Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson told Daily FT.  

Wilson also said that while they had requested a 15%-16% increase in prices in accordance with rupee depreciation, the Chamber was willing to consider a lesser increase of about 9%, which had also been discussed with the pricing committee. The price-controlled drugs and devices account for about 65% of total market share for the industry. 

National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) Chairman Prof. Asita de Silva, who also heads the pricing committee, confirmed that discussions on price revisions were ongoing but emphasised no final decision has been made. He also declined to comment on the percentage by which prices may be increased. 

“We acknowledged the issue of currency depreciation during committee discussions but no decisions on price revisions have been reached yet. There has also been no recommendations made to Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi yet,” he added. Under the current regulations the final decision of price revisions is made by the Health Minister.