The shortage of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)-manufactured paracetamol Crocin Advance drug has receded. The pill is back on chemist counters in Mumbai and that too 50% cheaper. People have already started availing of the medicine at a cheaper rate Rs 14 for 15 tablets.
A source from GSK said, "We have rolled out the medicine packs with the revised price. They are available in some quarters. In others, the retailers are expected to make them available in two to three days."
The basic pain relief drug was unavailable in the city for a month after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had asked that its "overpriced" stock be recalled. A strip of 15 tablets was priced at Rs30. Two months back, the state FDA had seized a stock of Crocin Advance worth Rs6 lakh from Thane, on the ground that it was overpriced, and had not allowed for it to be sold in the market.
"The drug was overpriced and was violating the rules of the Drug Pricing and Control Order (DPCO), which cites that 500mg paracetamol should be priced at 94 paise per tablet. GSK was selling it at Rs2 per tablet," said state FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade.
After FDA's action, GSK had approached the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) for recourse. The NPPA too came down heavily on GSK. The pharma company had argued with NPPA that Crocin Advance has faster effect than a generic paracetamol as it has superior pharmacokinetic profile, but NPPA has refused to pay heed to GSK's argument.
"GlaxoSmithKline Asia Pvt Ltd (GSKAP) has received a response from National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) on the application seeking exemption for Crocin Advance Paracetamol Fast Release 500mg tablet under the provisions of the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013. GSKAP is reducing price of Crocin Advance Paracetamol Fast Release 500mg tablet to conform to the price notified under DPCO, 2013, with immediate effect. From now onwards, Crocin Advance 500mg tablet will be supplied with price revision. Other variants of Crocin continue to be available for consumer consumption. GSKAP has been and will continue to be compliant with law of the land," a GSK spokesperson told dna.