Sanofi India attacks government over drug pricing curbs

Sanofi India

Sanofi’s ($SNY) Indian unit has hit out at government rules in the country that fix the price ceiling on hundreds of drugs.

Speaking at its recent general meeting, Sanofi India's managing director Shailesh Ayyangar said: “Government must not place the entire burden of access to healthcare on the pharmaceutical industry alone.

“Any pricing regime must be predictable and transparent and must take into consideration the stringent requirements on the quality front that the manufacturers have to adhere to for patient safety,” he told gathered shareholders.

In December last year the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare increased the National List of Essential Medicines, 2015 (NLEM)--resulting in over 100 new molecules being added and 70 molecules being excluded from the earlier list of 2011.

And the drug price regulator, the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA), has fixed the price ceiling on 530 essential medicines under the Drug Price Control Order 2013, resulting in the reduction in cost of 126 drugs by over 40%. These 530 medicines are among the 680 medicines that are on the NLEM.

Ayyangar added that Sanofi understands the “responsibility of manufacturing and distributing affordable medicines” to all sections of the society, and explained that the ceiling prices for some of these products had been already announced--and that the company had reduced their prices accordingly last month.

But this is not hitting the company’s top line as he said that despite the “significant impact suffered by the company” owing to price cuts imposed by the government, sales of the drugmaker still grew by nearly double digits due to domestic and export performance.

- see the Times of India story