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New policy set to slash drug prices

A new pharma policy is expected to bring down prices of hundreds of drugs, including many common antibiotics.

india Updated: Oct 02, 2006 15:48 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

A new pharma policy is likely to be taken up for approval by Union Cabinet after a 14-member committee set up by Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister Ram Vilas Paswan submits its report by this month end.

The committee is studying the legal aspects of the Supreme Court directive on controlling prices of essential drugs and is likely to submit its report by October end, Paswan said in New Delhi.

At a meeting of this committee, headed by Chemicals and Petrochemicals Secretary Satwant Reddy, industrial bodies have submitted a list of around 1,000 brands of "generic-generic" and "branded generic" drugs, whose sale would be subjected to a cap in trade margins.

Paswan said the prices of several hundred brands of generic-generic and branded generic drugs, including Omeprazole and Ciprofloxacin, are set to crash by up to 92 per cent with the pharma industry agreeing to a government proposal on capping trade margins.

It has been agreed that the retail margins for these drugs would be kept at 35 per cent while the wholesale margins would be 15 per cent, he said.

"This will be effective from October 2," he said.

While competition or de-control has led to reduction in prices in various sectors, it was only the drug industry where the prices have gone up or remained static at best, instead of coming down, he said.

"All these initiatives, including starting district level drug banks, are part of the promises made in the UPA's Common Minimum Programme to provide drugs at reasonable prices to the common people", Paswan said.

First Published: Oct 02, 2006 15:48 IST