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'Drug policy should aim at lowering medicine cost'

india Updated: Nov 17, 2011 23:00 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
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The Supreme Court on Thursday told the Centre that its policy on controlling prices of essential drugs should be aimed at lowering the cost of medicines and not raising it.

A bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice SD Mukhopadhyaya made the observation while hearing a 2003 PIL seeking direction to revise the list under Drugs Price Control Order to enable inclusion of more medicines. At present, there are just 74 medicines on the list.

"Twenty years back blood tests were done for R60. But, now it costs around R6,000. We have become insensitive to healthcare issues. If there were no hospitals such as AIIMS or Safdarjung, many would have died," the bench observed.

The court expressed its concern after the petitioner, All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), pointed to several loopholes in the government's fresh policy. The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers has posted its new policy on its website and invited comments on it. The last date for submitting its comments is November 30.

AIDAN has criticised the decision to delink the ceiling prices of formulations from the price of bulk drugs. According to the petitioner, if formulation ceiling price are not based on the bulk drug prices, the government would end up legitimising overpricing.

SC raps states for ignoring PM advice

The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up various state governments for ignoring the PM's advice to set up sanctioned number of special CBI courts, regretting that even a letter, written in 2009, by the country's highest authority was being consigned to the "dustbin".

The court granted eight weeks to the eight defaulting states to set-up the special courts as majority of the cases pertaining to corruption and criminal misconduct related to public servants.