Medicines used for the treatment of life-threatening diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, diabetes and cancer are set to get cheaper. The Department of Pharmaceuticals is in the process of drafting a supplementary list of life-saving formulations.
While in last three months, government has introduced about 87 formulations into the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) which attracts price ceiling, government is likely to introduce 40 more formulations by coming December.
“While the ministry of health is continuously adding more drugs under the NLEM, the department of pharmaceuticals is also creating a separate list of drugs to be added under the price-ceiling mechanism,” Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, minister of state, chemicals and fertilisers, told HT. “Prices of selected formulations would fall by at least 10% to 80% and even more in some cases.”
Despite simmering discontent among drug makers over declining profit margins, the minister said the process would be continuous. “Industry could be unhappy with the policy but our focus is to bring maximum drugs under price control ambit,” Ahir added.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPAA) has already capped the prices of over 530 essential drugs. “Keeping the momentum of price-slashing drive is essential as the cost for treatment of cancer and HIV still requires huge money,” said Animesh Arya, senior consultant, respiratory medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.
“The industry looks for stable, predictable and transparent pricing regime. As long as the pricing does not compromise availability, the industry will not fail in its duty,” said DG Shah, secretary-general, Indian Pharma Alliance, an association of domestic drug makers.