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Parliament Panel Recommends Price Caps For Drugs

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A parliamentary committee has recommended that price caps should be extended to all drugs in the country and that the government should expedite the capping process.
The law allows the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) regulator to fix prices of drugs on a list of essential medicines, thereby keeping prices in check in a country where a majority of people live on less than $2 a day and health insurance is scarce.
But the standing committee on chemicals and fertilisers, a panel of 31 lawmakers, noted in a report tabled in parliament that all medicines should be available in the market at an affordable price.
"The committee recommend that the scope of price control needs to be enlarged to make all the drugs available, especially life saving drugs in all parts of the country," the committee's report said.
Reuters reported this month that all the drugs on the government's HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis control programmes are likely to be added to the list of drugs subject to price caps.
The wide-ranging price cuts have hit both local and foreign drugmakers in India and have been opposed by many in the industry, who have said drug prices in the country are already among the lowest in the world.
NPPA has started an online consumer grievance redressal system to address issues related with pricing and availability of medicines.
"NPPA has started Pharma Jan Samadhan, which is an online system for receiving and taking action related to non-availability and overcharging with respect to pharmaceuticals," Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in written reply in Lok Sabha.