NPPA caps prices of liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders

New Delhi (NVI): The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the prices of liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders in a bid to stop their black marketing and hoarding due to surging demand amidst covid-19 pandemic.

The NPPA has decided to cap the ex-factory price of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) at manufacturers’ end at Rs 15.22/CUM exclusive of GST, according to a statement by Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

It has further capped the ex-factory cost of medical oxygen cylinder at fillers’ end at Rs 25.71/CUM exclusive of GST in suppression of the existing ceiling price of ₹17.49/CUM, subject to transportation cost fixation at state level, for six months, the statement added.

However, the existing rate contracts of state governments for oxygen purchase, as applicable, shall continue, in consumer interest.

The ex-factory price cap of LMO and oxygen gas cylinders will be applicable to domestic production, the ministry said, adding that the above measures will ensure availability of medical oxygen for consumers at reasonable price both at hospital level and through oxygen cylinders, especially to distant and interior districts.

The present situation of covid-19 has resulted in increased demand of medical oxygen (MO) in the country. Many of the states/Union territories (UTs) are dependent on the medical oxygen supply from other states/UTs.

The demand of medical oxygen (MO) has gone up almost four times, from 750MT a day to 2,800 MT a day, the government said. This has caused strain at all levels in the value chain of production and supply.

The issue related to availability, including pricing of oxygen has been under the continued consideration of Empowered Group 2, government of India.

The Empowered Group 2 recommended NPPA to consider capping the ex-factory price of liquid oxygen and oxygen cylinders in order to ensure their supply at reasonable prices.

-CHK