As demand for medical oxygen continues to remain high due to the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the central government has stepped in to regulate the price of oxygen concentrators.
The government on June 4 capped trade margins capped at 70 percent price to distributor (PTD) on oxygen concentrators after it found that the margin at the level of distributor currently ranges up to 198 percent, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said in a statement.
“Govt has capped the trade margin up to 70% on Price to Distributor (PTD) level on Oxygen Concentrators in consumer interest to ensure its continued availability at affordable price during the #pandemic,” Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Sadananda Gowda wrote on Twitter.
Manufacturers and importers of oxygen concentrators have been asked to report the revised maximum retail prices (MRP) within three days to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which invoked the extraordinary under Para 19 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO), 2013 to cap the trade margins. The NPPA is expected to inform the revised MRPs of oxygen concentrators in the public domain within a week.
“Every retailer, dealer, hospital, and institution shall display the price list as furnished by the manufacturer, on a conspicuous part of the business premises in a manner so that it is easily accessible to any person who is looking to consult the same”, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said.
The manufacturers and importers who fail to comply with the revised MRP after Trade Margin capping will be liable to deposit the overcharged amount along with interest at the rate of 15 percent and penalty up to 100 percent. They will be punished under the DPCO, 2013 read with Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
The central government has given state drug controllers (SDCs) the responsibility to monitor the compliance of the order to ensure that no manufacturer, distributer, or retailer sells oxygen concentrators to any consumer at a price exceeding the revised MRP, to prevent instances of black-marketing.
The order is applicable up to November 30, 2021.
Oxygen concentrator is a non-scheduled drug and is presently under the voluntary licensing framework of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). Its price is being monitored under the provisions of DPCO 2013.