Government to tweak price fixing mechanism to bring all essential medicines under price control

The central government will tweak the drug pricing norms to fix the prices of all 376 medicines that are included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) soon.

The current norms do not allow drug price regulator - National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to fix the prices of medicines for which market data is not available. Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar said the government will make necessary changes in the rules to bring even such medicines under price control. Addressing the foundation day function of NPPA, Kumar said that the government is going to make that amendment in the next 15 days.

The minister said that in the last two and a half years, almost 900 formulations have been brought under the price control, providing a saving of about Rs 5000 crores to the consumers.

The minister pointed out that a majority of the leading pharmaceutical companies of the country have come forward to feed data about the products they manufacture into NPPA's Integrated Pharmaceutical Database Management System (IPDMS). As on August 9, 2016, 670 companies had listed 59,090 products in IPDMS.

The Minister said that a two pronged strategy is being adopted to provide cheap medicines to the common man- one is through regulating the prices by NPPA and another through PM Jan Aushadhi Stores. He said that within one year, 3000 PM Jan Aushadhi Stores will be opened in the country covering all districts and tehsils. Kumar also pointed out that most of the medicines in Jan Aushadhi Stores cost 30 to 40 per cent as compared to the market cost and no medicine in Jan Aushadhi Store is more than 50 per cent of the market cost.

The function also saw the launch of a mobile Application "Pharma Sahi Daam" developed by NPPA to allow customers check the MRP fixed by NPPA for various scheduled drugs on real time basis.