The Supreme Court of India has informed the country’s central government that drug prices are too high and should not be raised again.

The criticism came during a Public Interest Litigation hearing, discussing the government’s newly proposed National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Policy.

The policy hopes to separate drug ceiling prices from bulk manufacturing costs, a move which critics claim would see the prices of essential drugs increase beyond the means of many people.

India’s Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals confirmed that under the new policy, all 348 medicines on the country’s National List of Essential Medicines would come under price control instead of the 74 bulk drugs currently controlled.

The hearing was adjourned until 17 January 2012.