DoP circulates draft Cabinet note on drug pricing policy

Updated: Oct 10, 2012, 23:17 PM IST

New Delhi: The department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) has circulated a draft Cabinet note for finalising the pharmaceutical pricing policy to fix rates of 348 essential medicines.

With the group of ministers (GoM), headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, suggesting a market-based pricing for drugs under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), DoP has taken up steps required to formalise the policy, according to official sources.

"Soon the Cabinet will take decision in this matter. A draft note has been circulated. Most of the ministries, including the Commerce and Industry, have supported the recommendations of GoM which met last month," an official said.

The group of ministers in its meeting held last month had agreed to bring 348 medicines in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) to be brought under price control.

It had mooted fixing of prices based on weighted average of prices of all brands, which have more than 1 per cent market share.

Apart from Pawar, Anand Sharma and Srikant Jena, other members of the group include 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.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had, however, asked the government not to alter the existing manufacturing cost-based system of fixing drug prices.