Make anti-cancer medicines cheaper for common man, say experts
Mumbai city news: The Union government recently capped the prices of 31 drugs including paracetamol, morphine, glucose, anti-venom serum and ibuprofen.health Updated: May 27, 2017 01:42 IST
As 31 more common drugs are brought under the national list of essential medicines, resulting in a 10-15℅ price drop, experts said that the need of the hour is to include expensive drugs like anti-cancer medicines and immunosuppressants in the National List of Essential Medicine (NLEM).
Through a notification, the Union government recently capped the prices of 31 drugs including paracetamol, morphine, glucose, anti-venom serum and ibuprofen. Officials from National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority said the more important drugs and medical devices like stents were subsidised first, and they have now moved to the most common drugs like paracetamol.
However, doctors said there are still a number of drugs in market which remain out of the reach for common citizen. “Target therapy and immuno-therapy in cancer treatment are gaining popularity, but the drugs are extremely expensive, so much that they are out of reach for common patients. There are lung cancer drugs ,an entire course of which costs about Rs20 lakh, with one injection costing about Rs3 lakh,” said Dr Sanjay Sharma from Asian Institute of Oncology.
A number of other drugs for breast cancer and bone strengthening cost anywhere between Rs20-50,000, with no price regulations, putting them out of the common man’s reach.
Officials from the state public health department said that a number of Indian pharmaceutical companies are making cost effective drugs, as compared to their western counterparts.
“If the government provides some subsidy to these companies, the drugs will be available at much cheaper rates. Some immunosuppressants, which need to be taken to prevent organ rejection, are extremely expensive and organ transplant patients have to take them for the rest of their lives,” said the official.