Punjab health minister Madan Mohan Mittal on Monday admitted in the state assembly that certain cancer cure drugs were costly and their maximum retail price (MRP) varied within the state.
In his reply to the call attention motion moved by Akali MLA Mahesh Inder Singh, the minister said his department had recently taken several measures to regulate the supply of such crucial drugs at cheaper rates, under which a rate contract had already been finalised for 72 cancer patients "to break the monopoly of some chemists and suppliers".
These medicines would be made available at cheaper rates in empanelled hospitals from April 1, 2013, he said.
Baghapurana MLA Mahesh Inder had stated that certain cancer medicines were available at rates 10 times cheaper in Bikaner in neighbouring Rajasthan.
The MLA said agramicin was available at Rs 260, only thanks to the intervention of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences vice-chancellor, while the same medicine was available with chemists in the open market at an exorbitant rate of Rs 3,612.
"There is no concrete policy to provider cancer medicines at subsidised rates as in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka," Mahesh Inder said.
Mittal informed the House that the state government had framed the Cancer Care and Drug De-addiction Treatment Bill, which would soon be adopted and implemented.
The health department, he said, had proposed to strengthen services for cancer treatment in the three government medical colleges - located at Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot ? where 50-bed oncology units would be established.