Ahmedabad: There is a wrong perception that medicines being provided free of cost to patients in government-run hospitals lack quality, said health commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare. He was speaking at a regional seminar on “Availability, accessibility and affordability of medicines for all”, which was held in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
Stating that government hospitals are now competing with private hospitals to provide quality healthcare, Shivahare said that Gujarat has the third largest number of drugs on the essential drug list (EDL). The government, through Gujarat Medical Services Corporation Ltd (GMSCL) procures medicines from pharmaceutical companies through a bidding process and provides these free of cost to patients of lower socio-economic sections under schemes of the central and state governments.
“Quality of drugs remains a challenge. I think it is more of a perception that drugs available through EDL list lack in quality. We want to change that perception. We are also very keen that all the good companies should also participate in the bidding process. We have some of the best pharmaceutical companies in Gujarat,” Shivahare said.
Stating that the government intended to provide a level playing field to new and established companies, Shivahare stated that there is a need to change the perception that quality drugs cannot be provided to the public health system. “We want to organize a meeting with various stake holders. Why some good companies are not participating in the bidding process that is being run by GMSCL. If they are having any difficulty, we would like to address those issues also. We want the best brands also to compete for supplying to the public health system,” he said.
Principal secretary, health, Jayanti Ravi sought inputs from pharma companies on the issue, saying that their feedback will help the government in making policy changes if required. “We wanted to interact with all of you and see how we can make our process of pricing, the process of bidding, all of this more transparent and allow for good quality. And at the same time, if the volume is huge, we can certainly have a very competitive price as well. We can definitely reconcile quantity and price as well without compromising on quality,” she said.
PMRU opened in Gujarat: The Gujarat unit of Price Monitoring and Resource Unit (PMRU) was inaugurated on Tuesday by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) chairman Shubra Singh in Ahmedabad. Gujarat has become the tenth state in the country to set up a PMRU. The unit will track violations of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO).-Times Of India