Pharmaceutical companies will drastically reduce prices of 354 generic drugs from November 2, providing relief to millions of poor people, Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said Varanasi.
The low cost generic drugs, carrying the price, manufacturing and expiry date in Hindi as well as English, would hit medical stores from November 2, he said on Saturday.
Pharma companies have also agreed to do away with local taxes on drug sales making them even more cheaper for consumers, Paswan said.
Apart from ensuring price reduction, the government has also decided to set up a countrywide drug bank from January 1 that would provide drugs free of cost to people living below poverty line.
The minister said cost of the "free" drugs would be borne by a corpus into which public and private sector companies would contribute 0.5 percent of their annual turnover.
Apparently seeking to provide a safety net to the poor and downtrodden people from the high cost of medication and treatment, Paswan said people below the poverty line (BPL) would be issued health insurance cards.
The poor could seek free treatment by presenting the health insurance card, the premium on which would be met by a government contribution of an estimated Rs 3,000 crore, he said.