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Prices Of Essential Drugs Expected To Fall
May, 26th 2008

 The prices of the various essential drugs may fall to half of the existing price. The manufacturers of drugs, out of the concern that more and more pharmaceutical brands are coming under the regulations, have offered to the Central Government, to provide essential medicines at 50% of the maximum retail price (MRP). New Policy is being devised to extend the cost-based price control to 354 lifeline drugs.

The pharmaceutical companies have also offered to finance a device for delivering these drugs at the subsidized price by providing 0.25% of their total profits to the central government, which is expected to be nearly Rs 10 crores. If the central government acknowledges this suggestion, it would be the sign of an important change in the techniques dealing with the rising healthcare costs in the country.

The suggestion comes with a clause that the central government would not enhance the possibility of cost plus price control. A Government panel of ministers is scrutinizing the anticipated new drug policy, which attempts to expand the cost-based price control to 354 medicines cataloged as essential drugs by the Ministry of Health, Central Government of India.

The government says that such a change would expand the extent of price control by only 7 % to 32% of the Rs 32,000 crores pharmaceutical market. The drug manufactureres, on the other hand, differ from this saying that about 50% of the market would be under direct or indirect government control.

As per the survey conducted by the ORG-IMS, which has covered nearly 75% of the National Essential Drug List, the new policy would subsidize the prices of nearly 7,000 different formulations. The list covers 27 therapeutic drugs in the segments like antibiotics, painkillers, cancer, HIV drugs, and psychotic drugs. The market experts have dubbed the cost-based price control to be an abnormality in an open market economy.

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