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JSA, PRA pull off Delhi HC win for Reckitt Benckiser condoms over price cap

J Sagar Associates (JSA) and PRA Law won in the Delhi high court for luxury condom maker Reckitt Benckiser which will now not be subject to ceiling prices on its condoms fixed by the government.

The Delhi high court has ruled that even though condoms fall within “essential medicines” under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, the government cannot fix their ceiling prices.

JSA Delhi partners Amar Gupta and Mayank Mishra and PRA partner Jawahar Lal acted for Reckitt which had challenged the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority's Drug (Price Control) Order 2013 (DPCO), which had fixed the per unit price of its condoms to less than Rs 7 per unit.

The HC had initially asked the petitioners to approach the government for a price review but took up its fresh pleas after the government only increased the price by Rs one per unit, reported the Express.

The court held that the DPCO, in accordance with legislative intent, envisages fixing ceiling price for only those formulations whose strength and doses have been specified in the National List of Essential Medicines but for male contraceptives, even though included in the Schedule, no strength and doses have been prescribed.

The bench of chief justice G Rohini and justice RS Endlaw, in a 67-page judgment, noted that condoms were “rightly considered as Essential Medicines and are included in the National List of Essential Medicians to ensure affordable healthcare to a majority of population and also to improve accessibility of drugs for anti-HIV etc through special assistance scheme,” because they were not just contraceptives but also a means to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, added the Express.

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