The government has added 175 drugs and formulations to the Drug Control list and their prices have been reduced over the past six months, taking the total number of formulations and drugs under price control to 617 from 440 earlier, minister of chemicals and fertilisers Ananth Kumar stated, even as he asserted that the prices of almost all life saving drugs have now been reduced.
Replying to a debate on a calling attention motion in the Lok Sabha on Friday, the minister said the drugs whose prices were regulated include 47 drugs for the treatment of cancer, 22 drugs for diabetes, 19 drugs for AIDS and 84 drugs used in the treatment of cardio-vascular diseases.
The minister asserted that that there are no drugs whose prices can be said to have increased, leave alone prices sky-rocketing.
Ananth Kumar denied reports that the price of one cancer drug (Glivec), which was being sold at Rs8,452.38 for 30 tablets, has been raised to Rs1,08,000, as reported in a section of the media.
The minister informed the House that according to new initiatives in the ministry, every pharmaceutical company has to file Form 5 every quarter, according to The Integrated Pharmaceutical Database Management System. More than 600 companies are already filing these forms. Through these forms his ministry will be monitoring their quantity, quality, price and all the parameters.
Besides, he said, the government is conceptualising the setting up Price Monitoring Resource Units in each state in order to effectively monitor price control.
Kumar asserted that the government is not intervening in the decisions of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, which is an independent authority working under the DPCO 2013. All the powers of government on pricing according to Essential Commodities Act have been delegated to it. The authority has brought in price control for 108 formulations on 10 June, he added.
He said the price control continues, and there is no reversal and there is also no stay order on the reduced prices although, pharmaceutical companies have gone to the court over the issue.