The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has issued notices to 22 pharma companies across the country in the last three months seeking explanation for violating the price regulation by selling drugs in higher than the prices fixed by the authority.

Following information received and identified by the NPPA, the price regulator has demanded a penalty worth Rs 21.39 crore from these companies. Mumbai-based Cipla Ltd, Tridoss Laboratories, Meridian Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Chennai-based Tablets India and Gujarat-based Vapi Care Pharma and Bombay Tablets top the list of violators in dodging price regulations, according to high officials from NPPA.

"We have sent notices to these companies and are waiting for their reply. If the reasons are found unsatisfactory, we will ask the companies to pay penalty on these fresh cases as in other routine cases," said the official on condition of anonymity.

Further, the official informed that the NPPA is currently pursuing recovery process on pending cases and has asked various district collectors to recover more than Rs 150 crore from the companies as of now. The total outstanding amount for recovery from the pharma companies as penalty for overcharging drug prices is Rs 2015.55 crore.

The NPPA, in a period from January to June 15, 2009, has recovered almost Rs 16.5 crore from the pharma companies for selling drugs in a higher price than the rules. Out of this, Rs 9 crore has been recovered from the New-Delhi based Modi-Mundi Pharma Ltd. The authority has earlier ordered the collectors to recover Rs 42.30 crore from Delhi-based Modi Mundi Pharma Ltd on two cases in Uttar Pradesh.

The company has approached the judiciary against the charges and recently, the Allahabad High Court has asked Modi-Mundipharma to deposit half of the recovery amount it allegedly overcharged consumers before challenging the NPPA's demand for the overcharged amount.