GoM on pharma pricing policy likely to meet Thursday
New Delhi: The Group of Ministers formed to formulate the new drug pricing policy is likely to meet on Thursday to finalise a proposal in this regard.
The GoM, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, had met last week and agreed to study how emerging countries like Mexico, South Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka fixed prices of essential medicines, before finalising the policy on drug pricing in India.
"The meeting of the GoM is being scheduled for tomorrow afternoon," an official source said.
Pawar had last week said the GoM was keen on finalising everything in "next 8-10 days time. In the next meeting we will finalise everything".
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had also said the group had made progress on formulating the policy, with a broad consensus emerging.
Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena had said that there was consensus for the inclusion of 348 drugs in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).
Jena had also said the ministers agreed that more time was needed to study data from developing countries on the way the prices of essential medicines are fixed.
Apart from Pawar, Sharma and Jena, the other members of the group includes Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister for HRD, Communications and IT Kapil Sibal, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
The GoM is looking into issues related to regulating prices of 348 drugs. It is examining a draft policy proposing a pricing model in this regard.
At present, the government through the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), controls the price of 72 bulk drugs and formulations.
After being unable to frame a policy for price control of essential drugs in its previous term, the UPA-II government had last year circulated a draft National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy 2011 through the Department of Pharmaceuticals.
The policy, however, could not be finalised due to differences between ministries of health and chemicals and fertilisers. Other stakeholders, industry and NGO's had also expressed their concerns on the pricing model which was suggested.