TNN | Jul 29, 2016
- Various drug price regulatory measures by the government has helped consumers save Rs 4,988 crore over the last 2 years.
- Government has capped prices of essential medicines at least three times since 2013.
NEW DELHI: Various drug price regulatory measures by the government helped consumers save Rs 4,988 crore over the last two years, Rajya Sabha was told on Thursday. Following approval of the pharmaceutical pricing policy in 2012, the government has capped prices of essential medicines at least three times since 2013, when the policy was first implemented by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority through the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013.
According to chemicals and fertilizers minister Ananth Kumar, the drug price regulator NPPA had initially brought 530 essential medicines under price control, giving consumers a benefit of Rs 2,422 crore.
Thereafter, the government revised the National List of Essential Medicines to include 404 more drugs, which saved consumers another Rs 2,216 crore. Apart from this, the NPPA also fixed prices of 106 other drugs under public interest provision which saved consumers Rs 350 crore in a span of last two years.
Kumar also said the government planned to make compulsory the existing voluntary uniform code for pharma marketing practices as well as open 3,000 Jan Aushadhi outlets across the country to ensure people got cheap generic drugs instead of costly branded ones.
Admitting that the voluntary code introduced last year had not proven effective in curbing unethical practices, with doctors continuing to prescribe branded instead of generic medicines, Kumar said his ministry had asked the health ministry to ensure it was made compulsory.