In the long-running case, the companies - which include Cipla, Ranbaxy, Wockhardt,Torrent, US Vitamins and Okasa - stood accused of overcharging for various bulk drugs during 2002 and 2003.
The government has been seeking paybacks for seven bulk drugs sold at a cost above those set by the state-run National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority's (NPAA). But last year, the Allahabad.High Court ruled in favour of the drgmakers, saying the NPAA's pricing scheme was 'arbitrary, unlawful and void', and that the agency had failed in its duty to update pricing every year.
The biggest beneficiary of the Allahabad High Court's decision was Cipla which is reported to owe the government around two billion rupees.
The Supreme Court, which earlier stayed the high court's judgment, said the drug companies will have to comply with the notified prices and pay the excess moneys received to the government.
The case concerns the active ingredients salbutamol, theopylline, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, cloxacillin, doxycycline and glipizide.