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Sen panel for price cap on 314 drugs

Policies not to discourage the Pharma Sector but to ensure that people can afford essential drugs, says Paswan.

business Updated: Oct 01, 2005 16:29 IST

Sticking to its recommendations of de-branding essential drugs and a single regulatory authority for drug pricing, the Pronab Sen Task Force on Tuesday submitted its final report to Chemical and Fertilisers Minister Ramvilas Paswan suggesting price ceilings for 314 drugs.

"The report recommends price ceiling for 314 medicines that fall under essential drugs. It would be worked out on the weighted average of top three brands of a drug by value as on April 1, 2005," Task Force Chairman Pronab Sen told reporters while submitting the report in New Delhi.

Out of 354 drugs recommended in its draft report submitted last month, the committee now proposes to bring 314 drugs under price ceiling as 40 items are normally procured only by the hospitals, he said. Price regulation should be done on the formulations and not on the bulk drugs, he said. Sen, however, said two regulatory bodies for monitoring quality and price have been recommended till the proposed system of a single regulatory authority under the name of 'National Authority on Drugs and Therapeutics' (NADT) takes shape.

"In due course of time, we should have single regulatory authority for drug control. Meanwhile, we can have two bodies one each from the Health Ministry and Chemical and Fertilisers Ministry that would take care of quality and price of the drugs respectively," Sen said.

States would also follow the system of two regulatory bodies for quality and pricing until the proposed National Drug Authority comes into force, Sen said.

In case of 10 per cent hike per year in the price of any essential drug, the regulatory bodies should call the company and negotiate price fixing. The report, however, said companies were free to hike drug prices on account of inflation. The ministry would now study the final report of the Sen committee before submitting the final draft to the Cabinet for its approval, Paswan said.

The Minister also said that the Government would buy drugs directly from the manufacturers at 50 per cent of the market price and supply it free to people living below poverty line. "We will procure essential drugs from the industry at 50 per cent price and give it free to the people who cannot afford them," he said. Paswan said that Government wants the Pharma industry to grow and would be spending Rs 150 crore on strengthening R & D in the pharmaceutical companies.

"These moves are not to discourage the pharma sector but to ensure that people should be able to afford essential drugs. They should not be sold at exorbitant prices," Paswan said.

First Published: Sep 20, 2005 20:31 IST