New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the government’s decision to bring condoms under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), which has put a cap on prices of all male contraceptives in the country, terming the order “illegal and unsustainable”.

A bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw set aside the November 2013 and July 10, 2014 orders of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) by which a ceiling was put on the prices of condoms.

The court order came on a plea filed by by harmaceutical giant Reckitt Benckiser (India) Pvt Ltd seeking to quash the government notification of November 2013 that put a cap on the price of male contraceptives sold in the country, contending that it would force the manufacturers to sell their product below the actual cost.

The government had in May last year included condoms in the list of essential medicine and fixed its ceiling price.

Reckitt Benckiser, opposing the inclusion of condoms within the scope of DPCO, claimed that condoms came under the category of “devices” and not “medicine”.

The manufacturers have also questioned the methodology for fixing the ceiling price, arguing that the low ceiling price will force bigger companies to stop production, which in turn will have a negative effect on population control measures.

However, the central government said that since condoms help to prevent diseases, they came under the classification of “medicines” and, hence, their prices can be controlled by the government.

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