Good medicine: Glucose, plasma sachets, multivitamins may get cheaper

  • Himani Chandna, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 25, 2016 17:13 IST
Medicines used under state and central health schemes such as polio drops, glucose, plasma sachets and multivitamins may get cheaper. These are the essential medicines which, till now, have escaped price control.

The government has decided to regulate more than 350 drug formulations, which are sold at the companies’ own discretion. This will bring down prices of some drugs, by up to 80%, which fall under the national list of essential medicines.

These 350 formulations are used to make polio drops, glucose, plasma sachets, hormonal injections and multivitamins.

In December the government had regulated 425 odd formulations in a list of 875. In the list was Paracetamol, used to make Crocin.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the drug price regulator, in April, had written to the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) to amend the drug pricing control order.

“We have suggested the DoP to use institutional (hospitals) procurement data to fix prices of formulations, whose price information is missing or unavailable in the market or with respective companies,” said Bhupendra Singh, chairman of NPPA.

The government has suggested that the DoP collects invoices from centre and state-owned hospitals, and based on those it should fix the prices of the formulations. “By doing so we can bring the prices under control,” Singh said.

In the past the regulator had sought advice from various stakeholders such as state governments, the drug controller general, other states’ drug controllers, and companies that track pharma prices. But, it has been unsuccessful, so far.

Singh hopes that once the price is regulated, it will allow hospitals to procure drugs are a cheaper and more controlled price.

Some of the drugs made from these formulations are used for treatment during critical illnesses and surgical procedures; such as testosterone injections, diagnostic agents, local anesthetics, dialysis solutions, and water for injections. Some of the other diseases are tuberculosis, cardiac conditions and anemia.

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