India lifts price caps on orphan drugs, other foreign imports

India in January 2019 lifted price controls on medicines developed by foreign companies. The move, long anticipated, affects so-called orphan drugs that treat rare medical conditions and other groundbreaking drug therapies.

The action exempts new drugs patented under the Indian Patent Act from price regulation for five years after they are first available for commercial sale in the country. It was criticized by some market watchers, who argue the move benefits foreign companies at the expense of domestic consumers. Most of the pharmaceuticals affected by the move are not produced by Indian companies.

But government officials say that by encouraging foreign firms to market their products in India, consumers get better access to innovative pharmaceuticals.