GoM on drug pricing policy likely to meet next week

GoM on drug pricing policy likely to meet next week New Delhi: A panel of ministers, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, is expected to meet next week to fine tune the drug pricing policy after the Cabinet deferred taking a decision on it following objections from the Finance Ministry.

The policy that aims to bring 348 essential drugs under price control of the government was earlier approved by the GoM on September 27 and was subsequently sent to the Cabinet but was deferred last week.

"I think the Finance Ministry has some objections on the drug pricing policy. So, the matter would be discussed again by the group of Ministers (GoM) on Monday," an official told reporters.

At present, the government through the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), controls prices of 74 bulk drugs and their formulations.

The draft policy aims at fixing prices based on weighted average of prices of all brands, which have more than 1 percent market share.

Last month, the Supreme Court had, however, asked the government not to alter the existing mechanism of cost-based drug pricing.

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 NGOs had also expressed their concerns on the pricing model which was suggested.

PTI