The price of some antibiotics and medicines given to patients for the treatment of cancer and heart diseases may decrease. The government is soon going to update the list of essential medicines and may put some of them in the list of medicines with price control. Unlike the previous system, now all the essential medicines will not come in the price control list.
NLEM will decide
The task of short listing the medicines has been given to the Standing National Committee on Medicines. The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) is scheduled to meet on November 4 in which the concerned parties will express their views. This work will be done before the NLEM is updated and finalized. At the meeting, the committee headed by Balaram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research, will decide which medicines should be available in sufficient quantity with proper quality.
Ineffective medicines will be off the list
A senior government official said, "The meeting will consider shortlisting medicines given to patients in cancer and heart diseases for treatment as there has been a lot of drug development in these categories." Preventing antibiotics from becoming resistant to viruses is a priority issue for experts. Drugs that are no longer effective on patients in India, will be rolled out of NLEM and new drugs will be added.
Drug Price Control
NLEM will be referred to NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar, Secretary Priti Sudan in the Health Ministry and Second Committee with Secretary PD Vaghela in the Department of Pharmaceuticals, who will decide which medicines to bring under price control. In the current system, all the essential medicines are automatically included in the price control medicines. In the old system, the Ministry of Health had prepared a list of medicines under the purview of price regulation, which was included in Schedule 1 of the Drug Price Control Order by the Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. Subsequently, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority did the pricing of the drugs included in this schedule.
What is the current rule on drugs
The drugs and devices included in NLEM can be sold only at the price fixed by the NPPA, while the price of non-schedule listed drugs is allowed to be increased by 10% every year. The first meeting of stakeholders for NLEM was held in July and included representatives from pharmaceutical companies, the Pharma Lobby Group and the Non Profit Organization. Experts were asked for information on cancer, medicines used to treat heart diseases, feedback on penicillin preparation, anti-microbial resistance and a review of NLEM 2015. NLEM is reviewed every three years.