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May 18, 2012, 09.32 PM IST | Source: PTI

GoM on drug pricing to meet again after Parliament session

An inter-ministerial panel headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, set up to frame drug pricing policy, will meet again after the ongoing session of Parliament in order to study views from various stakeholders.

An inter-ministerial panel headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, set up to frame drug pricing policy, will meet again after the ongoing session of Parliament in order to study views from various stakeholders.

"We will sit sometime after the (Parliament) session. I have to ask views of others, because few members were not present today," Pawar told reporters after meeting representatives of two NGOs and Member of Parliament Jyoti Mirdha.

The other members of the group of ministers (GoM) include, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Health Minister  Ghulam Nabi Azad and Minister of Chemicals & Fertilisers MK Alagiri. The ongoing Parliament session will be over on May 22.

The GoM is mainly looking into issues related to regulating prices of 348 drugs. It is examining a draft policy proposing a pricing model that leaves scope for fixing the rate to the industry, subject to a maximum ceiling.

The proposal is, however, facing opposition from NGOs and the Health Ministry, which maintain the move would lead to increase in prices of essential drugs.

As part of efforts to formulate a comprehensive policy, representatives of NGOs -- Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) and All India Drug Action Network -- made representations before the GoM today.

The NGOs have said prices of all essential drugs must be regulated.

"JSA demands that the new pharma pricing policy be withdrawn and redrafted completely. The redrafted policy should control prices of all essential medicines," JSA Joint Convener Amit Sengupta said.

Expressing similar views, All India Drug Action Network Joint Convener S Srinivasan said: "We have asked for all essential drugs to be brought under price regulations, removal from market of all unscientific irrational medicines and a law to curb unethical practices by pharma companies."

They said ceiling prices of drugs must be calculated on the basis of actual manufacturing costs. Member of Parliament Jyoti Mirdha, who also presented her views to the GoM, also called for essential medicines to be brought under the price control.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is estimated to be a Rs 1 lakh crore industry, of which about Rs 48,200 crore is from the domestic market.

READ MORE ON  Sharad Pawar, Parliament

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