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Amar Singh panel asks govt to include more essential and life-saving drugs under DPCO

September 20, 2010 in pharma industry

Even as the Group of Ministers (GoM), set up to examine the draft pharmaceutical policy including the all-important issue of inclusion of more drugs under price control, is yet to convene the meeting after almost one year of its constitution, the Parliamentary standing committee on Health and Family Welfare has called upon the government to include more essential and life-saving drugs under price regulation.

The Amar Singh-led committee, in its 45th report on ‘issues relating to availability of generic, generic-branded and branded medicines, their formulation and therapeutic efficacy and effectiveness’, noted that prescription of irrational and useless drugs by many of the doctors with ulterior motives is rampant. The committee said that in view of this trend, it is convinced that there is no other alternative but to include more essential and life saving drugs under price regulation.

“The committee is shocked to note that despite there being irrefutable evidence of a strong link between high prices of medicines and poverty as also despite the fact that the Eleventh Five Year Plan’s one of the avowed objectives is to include all essential drugs under a system of price regulation, the number of drugs under price control still remains at a pathetic 74. The committee is not aware of the reasons behind reducing the number of drugs under price control and, therefore, would like to be enlightened about the reasons behind restricting the controlled drugs to a mere 74”, the committee noted.

The committee, in its report which was presented to the Rajya Sabha on August 4, 2010, simultaneously recommends that the Department of Health and Family Welfare take up the matter with the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) at the highest level with a view to revisiting the issue of inclusion of drugs in the DPCO and making it more rational and patient-friendly. The Committee would like to be kept informed of the action taken in this regard.