Sunday, July 31, 2005

HC dismisses Ranbaxy's plea against overpricing

Government of India is getting closer to nailing India’s largest drug maker Ranbaxy for allegedly overcharging consumers on its anti-bacterial drug Roscilox from the late 90s. The Delhi High Court had dismissed a petition from Ranbaxy challenging the government move to recover Rs 4.65 crore, saying the city-based company circumvented the law and frustrated its objectives. After a series of discussions with the government explaining why it will not pay, Ranbaxy chose to file the petition last month after the drug price watchdog National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) launched a fresh recovery drive. Ranbaxy tried to avoid payment saying it did not own the drug, while the government claimed that Ranbaxy manufactured it through its erstwhile subsidiary Hyderabad-based Oscar Laboratories Ltd which was amalgamated into Ranbaxy in 1999. Ranbaxy continued to make the antibiotic after the amalgamation and had printed the brand name on its price list to the dealers. Ranbxy held that the Oscar Lab had exemptions available to small scale manufacturers, which the court said, is limited to the subsidiary as Ranbaxy was not a small scale company.