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Lawyer Moves HC, Seeks Curbs On Medicine Prices

Nagpur: Expressing anguish over exorbitant pricing of even generic medicines, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday asked Centre and state governments to inform on measures to be taken in this regard within two weeks.
A division bench comprising Justice Ravi Deshpande and Justice Atul Chandurkar directed the respondents to file an affidavit on action they propose to take against manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and doctors for misuse of provisions of law and depriving public of concession available to the patients in generic drugs.

Union and state ministries of chemicals and fertilizers along with National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) have been made respondents in the PIL filed by lawyer Manogya Singh through counsels — M Anilkumar, Rukshar Sheikh and Akansha Wanjari.

According to the petitioner, medicines which are manufactured at a very low cost are sold at very high prices due to negligence of authorities in controlling the rates. Thus, the prices remain out of bound for poor people who don’t get those in time leading to casualties in most cases.

Accusing the respondents of cheating poor people by selling drugs at higher than usual prices, the petitioner pointed out that citizens are forced to buy medicines from shops at unaffordable prices, as government hospitals didn’t stock them in sufficient quantity. She also charged the respondents of depriving poor citizens of advanced medical equipment as most government hospitals miserably lack these life-saving utilities.

The petitioner said there is a big difference between ethical and generic drugs and the cost difference is very high and discriminatory. “If a doctor prescribes a medicine sold for Rs200, in reality its price is merely Rs40 or even less. A poor person, who can’t afford Rs200 medicine, is thus deprived of treatment,” she said.

The petitioner prayed for directives to authorities to provide medicines at reasonable rates to the poor. She also demanded to fix prices of all medicines available in India as per Drug Price Control Order, 2013. “The list of generic drugs with their respective prices made available to doctors and government hospitals should be made public so that they can take benefit of various schemes. There should also be a specific mark to distinguish between generic with ethical drugs,” she said.-Times Of India

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