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Medicine slips to carry price tags in Hindi too, from Oct 2

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Aug 31 (UNI) Come October 2 and all medicines, that used to carry the price tag in english only till now, will have to carry their price tag in hindi too. Another important feature of the draft, is the introduction of uniformity in prices of essential medicines.

Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of 'Indiachem 2006' industry meet here yesterday, Union Minister for Chemicals, Fertilisers and Steel, Ramvilas Paswan, said ''I am thankful to the drug industry of the country for accepting the government's instruction to implement it from October 2 this year''.

We have also requested them to mention clearly in the receipts they provide to their customers how to take the dose of a particular medicine so as to help common man understand it, he added.

Regarding the draft drug policy the minister said that it was to be enacted by the year 2002 itself. However, the apex court in its recent judgment over the issue has extended the date of implementation of the policy by next year. Earlier 279 drugs had been covered by the policy which has now increased to 354. The draft is based on the recommendations given by the Sandhu committee and Pranab Sen committee reports, he informed.

The three things that have been kept in mind in the draft policy include an increase in the budget of expenditure on Research&Development of drugs from the earlier 0.8 per cent of GDP to 2.3 per cent, to make available essential drugs at minimum costs to the poor folk and above all, to provide health facility to all the 'Below Poverty Line' families, he disclosed.

Mr Paswan made it clear that we don't want to stop the growth of industry, but at the same time we'll have to keep the national interest very much in our minds.

Regarding the prices of medicines the minister said that recently his ministry had held a meeting with the representatives from the pharmaceutical industry in which the latter had agreed to bring all the essential medicines under price-control. He informed that a 16-member committee has been formed by the ministry after the apex court delivered its judgment on a case on the issue. The committee comprises 13 persons from industry and was likely to submit its report by September 30, he said. Then only the draft of the drug policy could be sent to the cabinet for further discussion, he said.

The minister also said that the ministry has agreed in principle to accept the demand of the industry to reduce the excise duty from 16 per cent to 8 per cent on essential drugs. However, the file was with the finance ministry now, he said.

Prior to it addressing the industry meet the minister hoped that the annual turnover of the pharmaceutical industry which was Rs 55,000 crore currently would go up to Rs 1,00,000 crore within the next five years. The theme of Indiachem 2006, which would be held between 8-10 November this year in Mumbai is 'building capabilities through innovation and technology exchange'.

A new petrochemical policy was also under consideration of the government which aims at increasing investments in the sector and promoting demand for petrochemical products, he added.

Minister of State for Industries (Maharashtra), Rana Patil, and chairman, western region council of FICCI, Deepak C Mehta were also present at the function.


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