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Government constitutes NITI Aayog-led Committee to monitor pricing of drugs

The constitution of the Committee is seen as a move that would curb the powers of the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) when it comes to regulating the prices of medicines in the country.

Jan 22, 2019 17:08 IST
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The Government on January 21, 2019 constituted a Standing Committee headed by NITI Aayog to oversee the drug pricing regime.

The constitution of the Committee is seen as a move that would curb the powers of the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) when it comes to regulating the prices of medicines in the country.

Standing Committee on Affordable Medicines and Health Products

The Standing Committee on Affordable Medicines and Health Products will be headed by NITI Aayog Member (Health).

The members of the Committee will be Chief Economic Adviser, Secretary of Department of health research, Director General of Health Services, Vice-Chairperson of National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

The committee will be a recommending body to the NPPA regarding prices of drugs and health products.

It will examine issues suo-moto or on recommendation of Department of Pharma, NPPA and Department of Health.

Why health activists objected the setting up of committee?

The health activists found the constitution of the Standing Committee on Affordable Medicines and Health Products as objectionable as this may have repercussions on affordability of drugs in the market.

They opine that the Committee has been vested with sweeping powers to oversee the pricing regime at the cost of undermining the NPPA.

The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) was established as an autonomous regulator in 1997 to oversee and set the prices of drugs and products on the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), which is prepared by the Health Ministry, and set price caps.

Background

The setting up of the Committee comes in the backdrop of recent clashes between the health and pharma ministries over regulating the prices of drugs and medicines.

The proposal was first discussed in April 2018 between Niti Aayog and PMO with the objective of amending the Drug Price Control Order, 2013.

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