The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has asked the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) to take market forces into consideration while bringing 348 drugs in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under the drug price control order (DPCO). AIOCD sent its recommendations to the government a few months ago.
Drugs listed under the DPCO cannot be sold at a price higher than that fixed by the government. The 348 drugs being considered for price control include those used to treat diabetes, cardiac ailments and antibiotics among others. The association is demanding that the government keep in mind the cost of marketing the drug and not just the cost price of producing it while fixing a price.
Last November, after the apex court raised concerns over the dwindling list of drugs under the DPCO, the government had committed that they would bring 348 drugs under the order.
"When DPCO 1995 came into force, many companies stopped manufacturing those drugs and there was a shortage. Ultimately the consumer will suffer," said JS Shinde, president, AIOCD.
Once the 348 medicines come under DPCO, about 44% of Indian market will be under price control, he claimed.
AIOCD contended that the cost-based pricing of essential medicines is not affordable for manufacturers. "The manufactures will then make only those that earn a profit. The government should ensure that pharmaceutical companies make adequate profits before controlling prices," said Ameesh Masurekar, director, AIOCD.