Modi govt to form standing committee to prevent drugmakers from evading price control

Medicines | Representational image | PxSphere

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has decided to form a standing committee to approve requests from pharmaceutical companies for discontinuation of scheduled medicines. The move is an effort to ensure that the drugmakers don’t escape price control of these drugs.

Scheduled medicines are essential drugs regulated by the government in terms of their pricing and availability in the market. The government sets the maximum price limit for these scheduled drugs.

The central government’s drug pricing and availability watchdog, the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA), has decided to form a “standing committee”, to which the companies will have to submit their discontinuation requests.

The new guidelines, seen by ThePrint, state that the committee will comprise the NPPA’s Advisor (cost), a representative from country’s apex drug quality regulator, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), and a representative from the Directorate General of Health Services, the technical knowledge arm of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“The authority in its meeting held on 6 August has approved guidelines for dealing with cases of discontinuation of scheduled formulations under para 21(2) of drug pricing control order, 2013,” reads the office memorandum issued by NPPA member secretary Vinod Kotwal on 14 August. “These guidelines will be effective with immediate effect and be applicable to all cases under consideration and future cases.”

According to the guidelines attached along with the office memorandum, the committee will look into cases where it is established that the drugmaker is intending to discontinue production or import of an essential medicine but has already launched (or intends to launch) “a new drug” to evade price control.

Moreover, the committee will have to approve the request for discontinuation of those medicines, which can evoke “concerns of shortage” or “criticality of the drug” is higher “for public health”.

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