Several generic versions of Sitagliptin have become available in the market after the expiry of Merck Sharp and Dohme’s (MSD) patent on Sitagliptin last month. The NPPA’s move is aimed at passing on the benefit of price reduction to consumers. At present, a blister pack (of 15 tablets) of Sitagliptin-Metformin combination costs about ₹345. The NPPA has reduced its price to the ₹16-21 per tablet range. Ever since the patent expiry of Sitagliptin, about 40 companies have launched or are likely to launch the generic versions of the popular diabetes drugs Januvia and Janumet (Sitagliptin) in the domestic market.
Sitagliptin is the gold standard in the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor (DPP4i) category. The price of Linagliptin-Metformin combination – which is set to go off patent next year – has also been brought down to the ₹16-25 per tablet range. For a 2.5 mg Linagliptin-metformin tablet, the price has been fixed at ₹16.17, and for the same combination in 5 mg strength, the price will be ₹25.33 per tablet.
Diabetes patients stand to benefit from the decision as about 30% of those with type-II diabetes are prescribed gliptin drugs like Sitagliptin, Linagliptin, Vildagliptin, etc., said Anoop Misra, chairman, CDoc, a multi-specialty hospital in Delhi. “These have glucose-lowering capacity and are virtually free of side effects. Since they do not result in significant hypoglycaemia, they are very useful in elderly,” Misra said.
An expert panel of NPPA had earlier suggested that the prices of drugs which have gone off patent, or are on the verge of becoming so, should be reduced. The NPPA’s notification on pricing came on August 24. The retail price of a tablet of the combination of Paracetamol, Phenylephrine Hydrochloride, Caffeine and Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride, which is used to treat symptoms of common cold, has been fixed at ₹3.73.