Source: Papers on country prices of key drugs presented at the
WHO SEAR Pharm Forum and available in:
A Report on Medicine Prices in SEA Region
, December 22, 2003, WHO, SEAR, India
In 5/24 (to be read as 5 out of 24) medicines the Sri Lankan price was more than the Indian price.In 4/5 of these medicines the manufacturer was from India. The maximum difference was 25%more than the Indian price and the minimum difference was 10%.
In 19/24 medicines (nearly 80%) the Sri Lankan price was lower than the Indian retail price. Themaximum difference between Sri Lankan and Indian prices of most sold drugs was of the SriLankan drug being 98% lesser than the Indian price and the minimum difference was 30% lessthan the Indian price. In 8/19 instances of lesser prices of medicines the manufacturers were fromIndia. In one instance the same drug (Captopril) manufactured by the same company was 10 timescheaper in Sri Lanka than in India. Drug prices in Sri Lanka are lower
for the consumer
probably because there generic drugs competewith the branded drugs for price in the retail market, and because the State (through SPC and STCwhich are parastatal organisations) itself runs fair price shops, where good quality generic/brandedgenerics drugs are available at a lower price. And since the State seems a major player in theprovision of services and also a major purchaser of drugs through worldwide tenders, the drugprices of top selling generics and /or branded generics are quite low compared to India. In Indiamost prescriptions are for branded drugs and state intervention in manufacture and marketing of drugs is minimal. The other point to be noted in the above is that the Indian prices are net of taxescollected from the consumer. In Sri Lanka there are no taxes to be paid by the user at the point of purchase. So the differences between Indian and Sri Lankan price would be even more than shownin the above table. Also the Sri Lankan prices also include trade commission which means theywould have been sold at even less by the manufacturers, many of whom as we have seen are of Indian origin. Competition works more apparently in Sri Lanka in the sense that the most-sellingdrugs are the lowest priced in many of the cases cited above; which is unlike the situationprevailing in India where the most-priced is also the most-selling in many a drug. However wesubmit this matter needs further investigation. What has the Indian public gained in terms of affordable prices by a strong indigenous pharmamanufacturing sector? What does it matter to the poor person who cannot afford medicines but if India’s pharma stocks are doing well otherwise? Sri Lanka has a better health status with almost nodomestic pharma industry as compared to India. We submit that if India’s Central and State Governments buys drugs through open, rigoroustender and sets up retail pharmacy shops, probably quality drugs would be available at much lower prices than at present (as at the time of writing, the Tamil Nadu Government through the TNMSCis planning to do some such thing for vaccines to be sold in the retail for the general public.).
Top 300 Drugs in India: A Brief Analysis
We now present an analysis of the top-selling 300 drugs of India accounting for Rs 19,000 croressales in India. This analysis of the Indian market is based on the October 2003 data of ORG-Nielsen. This data is collected from a sample of around 280 outlets in India and is based on datafrom wholesale dealer’s sales to retailers. It is not based on retail sales. It is indicative, of markettrends in general. However in view of the sample taken and the exclusion of institutional sales, it islikely to be an underestimate of the total volume of sales.