India likely to extend price caps to more HIV, TB meds: Reuters

After stirring up protest by expanding its list of drugs subject to price caps late last year, India is considering adding more to the list. This time, health officials are likely to add more drugs that treat HIV and tuberculosis, Reuters reports.

The Indian government already provides a set of HIV and TB treatments for free via state clinics and distribution centers. All of those drugs are likely to be added to the essential medicines list, capping their prices when used at private clinics, Reuters sources say. The sources wouldn't identify a complete list of meds likely to become subject to price caps.

In 2013, Indian officials expanded its list of meds subject to price caps to 652, with 348 of those classified as essential drugs. Big Pharma companies protested, and Indian officials have been tweaking the price-cap list ever since, with more than 450 subject to price limits by last fall.

Another 52 were added in December, according to local media reports, including commonly used painkillers, antibiotics, cancer treatments and skin drugs.

Officials now are working on revising its essential medicines grouping, with plans to announce the changes in the next six months, Reuters says. One health official said more information about the timing could come this month.

"We are reviewing drugs across therapy areas, and there could be additions as well as deletions to the 2011 list," said Y.K. Gupta, vice chairman of a health ministry panel tasked with reviewing the list (as quoted by Reuters). "We will have better clarity on when the list could be out by the end of April."

- read the Reuters news