The Delhi High Court has put on hold the government’s decision to cap the price of well-known anti-fungal cream Itch Guard, manufactured by drug major Reckitt Benckiser, on the company’s plea challenging it.
In its interim order, a vacation bench of justices G S Sistani and P S Teji said the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s (NPPA) decision should be kept in abeyance till it decides the company’s plea to review the ceiling fixed on the product.
Reckitt’s application for reviewing the price control order is pending before the NPPA.
“The impugned order (of NPPA) should be kept in abeyance till the review application filed by petitioner (Reckitt) is decided. A week thereafter (of the decision), the petitioner can move the court if they have any grievances with regard to the findings,” the court said disposing of the company’s plea.
The order came on Reckitt’s plea challenging the ceiling price fixation order of May 9, that fixed a cap on clotrimazole one per cent cream, a formulation used in its anti-fungal cream Itch Guard.
Appearing for the company, senior advocate P Chidambaram, had said that the order has been passed by respondent 2 (NPPA) without following the mandatory procedure under the Drug (Price Control) Order (DPCO) 2013 for arriving at the ceiling price.
He had also contended that NPPA’s decision was illegal, arbitrary and ultra vires of the DPCO 2013.
He also said that Itch Guard, containing clotrimazole one per cent cream and manufactured by the petitioner, has a turnover of Rs 54.9 crore.
Advocate T P Singh, appearing for the government, had argued that the drug major’s plea in the high court was premature as it has already filed a review application which is pending for consideration before the authority.
( Source – PTI )