Vats holds multiple positions including that of Director General (DG) of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). He is also the Chairman and Managing Director of HLL Lifecare Limited.
The Union government appointed Rakesh Kumar Vats as the chairman of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) with immediate effect.
The chairmanship of the Indian drug price regulator will be an additional charge for Vats, who is the additional secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Vats belongs to the 1986 West Bengal Indian Administrative Services (IAS) cadre.
He holds multiple positions including that of Director General (DG) of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), is the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), a public sector enterprise under Union Health Ministry that makes condoms, vaccines, medical consumables and diagnostic kits.
“The Competent Authority has approved the assignment of the additional charge of the post of Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers to Shri Rakesh Kumar Vats, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare with immediate effect and until further orders,” said a statement from PK Tripathi, Secretary, Appointments Committee of the Cabinet and Establishment Officer, Department of Personnel and Training.
The post of NPPA chairman fell vacant after the government transferred Bhupendra Singh last month to head the National Authority of Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC).
The chairman of NPPA assumed significance under Singh after the authority took steps to rein in profiteering by companies by bringing in more drug formulations under the ambit of Drug Price Control Order and capping prices of stents and knee implants.
NPPA has been fighting several court cases to recover dues worth hundreds of crore rupees from pharma companies for violating DPCO.
Sources told Moneycontrol that NPPA without a chairman has put itself in serious risk of losing some of these cases.Although healthcare activists welcomed the appointment, they were disappointed about handing over such an important charge to a bureaucrat whose hands are already tied-up with several other important responsibilities.