The present situation of COVID-19 has resulted in increased demand for Medical Oxygen (MO) in the country and hence its availability is of utmost importance. Many of the States/UTs are dependent on the medical oxygen supply from other States/UTs.
The government is committed to uninterrupted supply of Medical Oxygen especially in the times of pandemic. Oxygen Inhalation (Medicinal Gas) is a scheduled formulation, covered under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). Its existing Ceiling Price fixed by NPPA is Rs. 17.49/CUM. However, due to the absence of a price cap on liquid medical oxygen, manufacturers have hiked prices to fillers. During COVID, the supply of medical oxygen through cylinders has increased. Price regulation at this end is imperative for the continued availability of medical oxygen across the country.
The issue related to availability, including pricing of oxygen has been under the continued consideration of Empowered Group 2, GOI. The Empowered Group 2 has recommended NPPA to consider capping the ex-factory price of liquid oxygen in order to ensure its supply to fillers at reasonable prices. It has also requested NPPA to consider a cap for the ex-factory price of oxygen in cylinders in order to ensure supply of oxygen cylinders from filler at reasonable prices.
National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority, NPPA has decided to cap the ex-factory price of Liquid Medical Oxygen at manufacturers end at Rs.15.22 paise per cubic meter exclusive of GST. The present situation of COVID-19 has resulted in increased demand for Medical Oxygen in the country. NPPA said, due to absence of price cap on liquid medical oxygen, manufacturers have hiked prices to fillers. During COVID, the supply of medical oxygen through cylinders has increased from 10 per cent to around 50 per cent of total consumption. It said price regulation at this end is imperative for the continued availability of medical oxygen across the country.
Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry said the demand for medical oxygen has gone up almost four times, from 750 metric ton per day to 2800 metric ton per day. NPA said, to further cap the ex-factory cost of Medical Oxygen Cylinder at filler end at Rs.25.71 paise per cubic meter exclusive of GST in the suppression of the existing Ceiling Price of 17 rupees 49 paise per cubic meter for six months. The existing rate contracts of state governments for oxygen purchase, as applicable, will continue, in consumer interest. This will ensure availability of medical oxygen at consumer end at a reasonable price both at hospital level and through oxygen cylinders, especially to distant and interior districts.