ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pharma Price Control Policy

Despite the government's and pharmaceutical lobby's claims and counterclaims, the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013, which covers only 18% of the total domestic market of Rs 71,246 crore, has had very little positive effect as a price control policy. This article points out that the Order leaves out much that should have been included, while including much that should have been left out. Its provisions have made the playing field more uneven, with multiple ceiling prices, which is very unfair to consumers already dealing with an irrationally priced market.

Drug Price Control Order 2013

The hope that prices of medicines will reduce and super-profits will be curtailed has been belied by the government's drug control measures. As warned earlier, there are many loopholes which will keep most medicines out of price control, while manufacturers are likely to move away from controlled medicines to the production of unregulated ones. There is not even a proper mechanism to record and respond to consumer grievances.

Making Medicines Available at Reasonable Prices

The report of the task force on making life-saving drugs available at reasonable prices is sufficiently sanguine to the realities of the country, making it possibly the first official report which recognises competition does not work in the pharma formulations sector and that patients do not really have a choice in the matter like in other consumer segments. It asserts that price regulation should be on the basis of essentiality of the drug and strategic considerations about the impact of price control on the therapeutic class, rather than on market share and turnover. This is significant myth-breaking by official hammers.

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