Stating that all medicines are essential, a Parliamentary panel has recommended expanding the scope of price control to cover all medicines available in the country. According to a report by the Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilisers tabled in Parliament, all medicines, including life saving drugs, should be available in the market at affordable cost. Currently, drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has fixed prices of 509 formulation packs based on National List of Essential Medicines.
"The Committee was surprised to know that all medicines are not listed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). The committee are of the view that all medicines are essential and is taken only when it is needed by the patient," the report on Department of Pharmaceuticals said.
The panel further said: "All these medicines, including life saving drugs, should be available in the market at affordable cost. To keep this in view, the committee recommend that the scope of price control needs to be enlarged to make all the drugs available, especially life saving drugs, in all parts of the country."
The government should also expedite the process of notifying the ceiling prices of the remaining medicines in NLEM, it added. Expressing concern over large sum of money spent on importing pharmaceutical products, the panel also called for incentivising domestic bulk drug industry and discourage Indian firms from buying from overseas.
It said Rs. 17,944 crore was spent in 2013-14 to import medicinal and pharmaceutical products. "The Committee are of the strong view that to realise the dream of 'Make in India' concept in pharmaceutical sector, the government should boost and incentivise domestic bulk drug industry and discourage Indian pharmaceutical firms from importing," it said.