Drug Price Control Order 2013 - Facts About Drugs (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019

Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) are issued under Essential Commodities Act (ECA). Government of India is the issuer of such orders. The drug price control orders enable the government to declare a ceiling price for essential and life saving medicines (as per a prescribed formula). In January 2019, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers issued Drugs (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019 to strike the right balance between consumer and producer interests.

This article will provide relevant facts about Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) for IAS Exam preparation. The topic comes under UPSC Mains GS-II, “Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.”

To know about the other important Government Schemes in India, visit the linked article. 

Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) – UPSC Indian Polity Notes:-Download PDF Here

Start your preparation for the upcoming IAS Exam with the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers.

Also, complement your preparation with the help of following links:

What is Drug Price Control Order, 2013?

The Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers had announced the Drugs Price Control Act, 2013 to improvise the availability of basic medicines at affordable prices across the country. 

The order has been issued by the Government of India for the regulation of drug pricing in the country under Section 3 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) will be responsible for the implementation of DPCO 2013.

It was introduced in May 2013 and had affected the pricing of over 300 essential medicines based on their manufacturing cost. As per the DPCO 2013, all dosages mentioned in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) will be under price control. 

Also, read Medical Devices Under Drugs Law: RSTV – Big Picture

Why does Drug Price Control Order came into effect?

There are a few reasons to note down to understand the applicability of Drug Price Control Order:

  1. The action of a few pharma companies to increase the prices of their products to get maximum benefit affected the daily user.
  2. The affordability of these medicines was hampered as common man found it difficult to cope with the soaring prices

Government of India, to stop this activity, brought to surface, Drug Price Control Order that defines the prices of the essential drugs and keep them in control so that they can be accessed by the public.

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What is an Essential Medicine?

A list of those medicines that are necessary for the health care needs of the population. The concept of essential medicines was introduced by WHO in 1977. The below points are given importance to, to denote a medicine as an essential medicine:

  1. Public health relevance
  2. Evidence on efficacy and safety, and
  3. Comparative cost-effectiveness

Also, read Fighting Drug Menace: RSTV – The Big Picture

Features of Essential Medicines:

  1. Essential Medicines should be available at all times (within the context of functioning health systems) in adequate amounts
  2. Essential Medicines should be available at all times in the appropriate dosage forms
  3. These medicines should be available at all times with assured quality and adequate information
  4. These medicines are introduced for a fact that prices of these medicines are affordable for an individual and the community

Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) highlights the need of efforts to rationalize the use of essential medicines. Some of the steps that government can take are:

  1. Clinical Guidelines imposition on the pharmaceuticals (DPCO is one such example)
  2. Promotion of drugs committees in districts and hospitals
  3. There should be proper supervision, audit and feedback
  4. Enhancement of public education about medicines
  5. Government should spend sufficiently to ensure availability of medicines and staff

UPSC aspirants can also know more about Drug Abuse in India at the linked article. 

Introduction to Drugs (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019 for UPSC

The facts about DPCO (Amendment) 2019 are mentioned in the table below:

Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) Amendments 2019 – Facts for IAS Exam
Introduced by? Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers
Key Points about DPCO amendments?
  • Exemption from the price control regulations for 5 years (from the date of marketing) is offered to a drug maker who brings in an innovative patented drug 
  • NITI Ayog recommended the amendments to the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP).
  • Drugs for treating rare or “orphan” diseases too will be exempt from price control, with a view to encouraging their production.
  • Central government will continue to fix prices in line with market-based data available on drugs
  • The source of market-based data shall be the data available with the pharmaceutical market data specialising company as decided by the government
  • If the government deems it necessary, it may validate such data by appropriate survey or evaluation

Aspirants can read the below linked articles related to healthcare:

National Rural Health Mission National Urban Health Mission
National Health Mission Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)

Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) – UPSC Indian Polity Notes:-Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions on Drug Price Control Order 2013


Q 1. What is the Drug Price Control Order?

Ans. The Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, under the guidance of Government of India announced the revised Drug Price Control Oder in 2013 to regulate drug pricing across India for easy availability of essential medicines to the people of the country.

Q 2. What is the role of NPPA in DPCO?

Ans. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority or NPPA is attached to the office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and is an independent body for regulation of drug pricing in India. All reforms under DPCO are bound to be implemented by NPPA.

Q 3. What is the significance of Drug Price Control Oder 2013?

Ans. The DPCO 2013 had been announced to ensure that the essential drugs are available in the market at affordable prices for the general public. This would also ensure the availability of such medicines in bulk so that one may not have to switch to expensive drugs for emergency treatment.

Q 4. Who regulated drug pricing in India?

Ans. In India, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is the independent organisation established by the Government to manage and regulate the pricing of drugs in the country.

UPSC Preparation Articles:

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UPSC Previous Year Question Paper IAS Topper


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