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

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DRUGS-Accommodating Health Ministry

Accommodating Health Ministry THE government's recent decision to constitute a review committee to reconsider the Category I drug list is, more than anything else, a concession to the health ministry's concerns. Ever since the drug policy announced the new price control categories there has been a tussle between the health and the chemicals ministries on the list of drugs to be included in the two categories. While the health ministry would like the price control category, especially Category I, to be enlarged, the chemicals ministry is keen on keeping the price controlled drugs to a minimum. The latter's contention is that the failure of the earlier price control orders was mainly because of the large number of drugs in the control categories. The Kelkar Committee set up to look into this was in agreement with this point of view, which is naturally enough agreeable to the industry. On the other hand, consumer groups have repeatedly stressed the fact that a drug policy ostensibly aimed at providing good medicines at reasonable prices should not consider only the industry's arguments of profit margins. These arguments are especially well substantiated in regard to Category I. The industry, for instance, has argued against the inclusion of paracetamol in this category on the ground that it is not specifically a part of health programmes. From the consumer's point of view, this is very clearly absurd

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