The Indian government has capped the price of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and medical oxygen (MO) cylinder, which is crucial for the treatment of critically ill Covid-19 patients.
As per a notification issued by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, medical oxygen’s price has been fixed at Rs 15.22 per cubic metre (exclusive of GST) at the manufacturers’ end and Rs 25.71 per cubic metre at the filler's end, subject to transportation costs, fixed at the state level for six months.
The move comes as the demand for medical oxygen has gone up almost four times -- from 750 MT per day to 2800 MT -- in the wake of the pandemic.
“The present situation of Covid-19 has resulted in increased demand for medical oxygen 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 notification reads.
“Existing ceiling price of oxygen inhalation (medicinal gas) fixed by NPPA is Rs 17.49/CUM. But since there is no price cap for MO, manufacturers have hiked prices to fillers. During Covid, supply of medical oxygen through cylinders has increased to around 50 percent from 10 percent of total consumption. Price regulation at this end is imperative for continued availability of MO across the country,” it stated.
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 ex-factory price of oxygen in cylinders in order to ensure supply of oxygen cylinders from filler at reasonable prices, the statement said.