Centre examines overpricing and non-availability of drugs

A Committee under the Department of Health Research will be working out on a package of interventions and procedures to build domestic production capabilities, and further examine the cost implications of the drugs.

 The Dollar Business Bureau Bulk-Drugs-The-Dollar-Business The Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, on Tuesday, informed that the Special Committee recommendations are being examined for formulating a ‘Policy for Promotion of Manufacturing of Bulk Drugs’. The Union Minister Ananth Kumar informed Lok Sabha that a special Committee, under the chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Health Research, has been constituted to check the issues pertaining to the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). The Committee will check the whole issues of APIs by identifying the APIs of critical importance and will then work out on a package of interventions and procedures to build domestic production capabilities and further examine the cost implications, the Minister added. The recommendations made by the Committee include the establishment of Mega Parks for APIs with common Effluent Treatments Plants, Testing facilities, Captive Power Plants and assured power supply by state systems, storage utilities, testing laboratories, IPR management, designing, among others, maintained by separate Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV). Speaking on the pricing of drugs, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, informed that all the essential medicines included in the First Schedule of Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013 are under price control. However, the lives saving drugs are not defined in the list of DPC order, he added. The Minister of State further informed that in terms of Moving Annual Turnover (MAT), according to the pharmaceutical database, there is no general evidence that the scheduled/non-scheduled drugs are being sold at higher prices due to shortage in drug supply in the country. In this regard, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has started an online mechanism called ‘Pharma Jan Samadhan’ for receiving grievances and taking an appropriate action on non-availability of drugs and issues related to the drug overpricing, he added. Based on the reports by the State Drug Control Administration and the individual complaints, the NPPA will address the shortages and non-availability of the drugs by taking up the matter with the concerned manufacturer and further advice them to rush up the stocks in the affected area. Any manufacturer/importer wishing to discontinue the manufacturing/importing process of a scheduled formulation has to apply to NPPA at least 6 months in advance and the NPPA will further direct the applicant to continue production/ import up to one year period.    

This article was published on April 22, 2015 – 4:00 pm IST.