THD NewsDesk, NEW DELHI: Considering the grave moment of a health crisis, the Government has agreed on applying a price-cap to curb the inflating prices of medical oxygen on September 26.
Since most coronavirus patients with serious illness are found suffering from respiratory diseases, a heavily backed up supply of medical oxygen is essential for Covid-19 patients. Therefore, the NPPA determined a price-cap on medical oxygen cylinders and liquid medical oxygen (LMO) for six months.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory body responsible for determining the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India.
Given the increase in demand for medical oxygen during the Covid-19 pandemic, stress was laid on the restriction of medical oxygen prices to ensure its ready availability in hospitals. The Government’s Empowered Group 2 directed the NPPA to fix the maximum price of liquid medical oxygen to guarantee its supply to fillers at inexpensive rates.
Apart from Empowered Group 2, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare also ordered NPPA to adopt stringent methods to constrain medical oxygen suppliers from charging heftily. Following the NPPA meeting held on September 25, it deemed the invocation of its extraordinary powers, listed under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in the public interest.
The NPPA stated its decision “to cap the ex-factory price of LMO at manufacturers end at Rs 15.22/cubic metre (CUM) exclusive of GST. And to further cap the ex-factory cost of medical oxygen cylinder at filler end at Rs 25.71/CUM exclusive of GST in the suppression of the existing ceiling price of Rs 17.49/CUM, subject to transportation cost fixation at the state level, for six months,”.
The statement elucidated that the price-cap only pertains to the domestic production and supply of LMO and not the rate contracts of oxygen purchase by the state governments.
The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Sadananda Gowda said in a tweet, “Government is committed to ensuring the availability of oxygen during COVID-19. @nppa_india price cap will address challenges of transporting oxygen to distant and interior districts.”