New Delhi: Informing that 615 essential drugs have been brought under price control mechanism, government on Thursday told the Lok Sabha that the costs of medicines have reduced over the last six months and more steps are in the offing to check prices.
Government said that by next month, it will come out with a new list of life-saving drugs whose prices would be controlled.
Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar said since the new government came to power in May, 175 essential drugs have been added to the list of drugs which are under price control mechanism, taking the number to 615 as 440 were already covered under it.
New steps are being planned to check prices and increase availability of generic drugs, he said replying to a Calling Attention Motion.
In the motion, Congress members Ranjeet Ranjan and Susmita Dev accused the government of allowing substantial hike in essential drug prices, including those used for treating cancer, heart ailments, HIV and diabetes.
They attacked the government for the botched up sterlisation cases in Chhattisgarh which had claimed 17 lives recently, saying rise in drug prices as well as easy availability of spurious medicines were the major reasons for this.
To this, Health Minister JP Nadda promised stringent action to prevent such incidents in the future.
"(Medical) camps are not target-oriented but demand driven ... (Following the Chhattisgarh incident) we have issued advisories and are reviewing their functioning to make such camps more effective," he said.
While Kumar said 3,000 outlets to sell generic drugs would be opened across the country, Nadda said the government would come out by January with a new list of life-saving drugs whose prices would be controlled.
"In the last six months, the price of no drug or medicine has been hiked" and there is no question of prices skyrocketing, Kumar said, terming it as "misinformation campaign".
"The aim of the government is to ensure good quality and affordable medicines for people," he noted.