National Pharma Policy to focus on pricing, availability of drugs

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New Delhi, Apr 12 (UNI) A new National Pharmaceutical Policy focusing on the prices and availability of essential drugs has been drafted said the Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers and Steel Ram Vilas Paswan, while addressing a seminar on drug price control here today.

The minister said the policy also included measures for the growth of the pharma industry, said a statement.

Highlighting the Government's point of view the Minister said health care being high priority area and prominent part of National Common Minimum Programme, the Government is committed to ensure affordability and availability of medicines to all.

Advocating consumer friendly prices, Mr Paswan said price control is one of the tools with the government to maintain some reasonability in the prices of the medicines.

He said direct purchase from the company instead of dealers could reduce the cost of drugs by 50 per cent.

The minister said, affordable medicines for all assumed significance in view of the unique health insurance scheme for the below poverty line families that has been launched on April 1, 2008.

Of the entire expenditure on this scheme, 75 per cent will be borne by the Central Government and 25 per cent by the State Governments.

About one crore 20 lakh people will be benefited annually under this scheme.

Discussing the models and systems being followed elsewhere in the world will help to learn from others experiences to minimise the prices and maximise the availability of drugs.

The Minister desired to continue the dialogue at national and international level to sustain and maintain an edge at the global level.

Appreciating the challenges faced by the industry on account of several domestic and international factors, the minister stressed the need for social responsibility aspect of the industry.

NPPA has organised the international seminar on pharmaceutical prices and regulatory framework for affordable medicines for the first time to mark completion of ten years of its existence.

Seminar is deliberating on various aspects of price regulatory mechanisms affordability of drugs and the international experience in the subject.

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