With its most recent notification capping the prices of 56 essential medicines, the Centre has covered 330 drugs out of the 800 it has a mandate to put ceiling prices on.The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority put ceiling prices to 56 Schedule 1 formulations, Monday, in accordance with the Drug (Price Control) Amendment Order 2016. These range from the most common over-the-counter medicines, such as paracetamol, to expensive drugs used to treat leukaemia and other cancer of the blood cell, such as imatinib. Drugs used for fever, hypertension, allergies, diabetes, various bacterial infections, fungal infections, come under this new notification, part of the government’s process to cap prices of 800 drugs on the National List of Essential Medicines 2015.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to dna, chairman of the NPPA, Bhupendra Singh, said that this was part of a series of notifications to achieve the 800 formulations mandate. The first was issued on March 27. So far, the NPPA has revised the prices of 330 formulations. This notification brings down prices by almost 25%. Even paracetamol 500mg gets cheaper, having been capped at Rs. 0.83 for a tablet.Though the drugs on the NPPA list are manufactured by a number of pharmaceutical companies, quite a few price important drugs highly. For example, most manufacturers sell imatinib at around Rs. 300 for a 400mg tablet, bringing the price of a ten tablet strip to Rs. 3000. It has now been capped at Rs 213.32 for a 400mg tablet.The list doesn’t cover all forms of one drug, the price cap for a tablet will not apply to an injection of the same formulation, or to the same drug with difference in milligrammes. Singh says, that priority is given to cases most popular in the market. However, most differences have either been or will be covered in subsequent notifications.The health ministry revises its list of essential medicines every three years explained Singh, through an expert committee that comprises all stakeholders, including pharma companies. The ceiling price for a drug, fixed by the NPPA after the list is out, is reached by taking the average of the prices of all brands that have a market share of one percent and above.In the first few notifications, priority was given to about a 100 medicines that had entered the essential drug list for the first time, he added.