Rising Healthcare Costs Impoverish 75 Lakh Families Annually: Minister

The Central government has admitted that 75 lakh families fall below the poverty line annually due to the rising cost of health care in India.

Replying to a question on the availability and price control on generic drugs Mansukh L. Mandaviya, MoS, Chemical and Fertilizers said: “Annually we are seeing families slipping below the poverty line because of the escalating costs of health care and medicines in India. Conditions are so poor that children have to stop their education in some extreme cases. It is vital that this fall is netted immediately.’’

He informed the House that the Central government is providing generic medicines under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) which are normally cheaper by 50-90% of average price of top 3 brands of corresponding medicines.

“A total 5,028 PMBJP Kendras have been opened across the country, where 714 of the 900 medicines in the product basket of PMBJP is currently available,’’ said the Minister.

“The purchase orders for procurement of 24 medicines and 90 surgical items have already been issued and these medicines/surgicals will be available for sale at PMBJP Kendras in the next two months. For 162 medicines and 11 surgical items, no bids were received in the last two tenders. Floating tenders for required medicines is an ongoing process,’’ noted the reply by the Minister.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), he said, fixes the ceiling price of scheduled medicines specified in the first schedule of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 (DPCO) in accordance with the provisions of the DPCO.

“All manufacturers of scheduled medicines (branded or generic) have to sell their products within the ceiling price (plus applicable local taxes) fixed by the NPPA. A manufacturer is at liberty to fix the maximum retail price of a non-scheduled formulation (branded or generic) launched by it. However, as per the DPCO, the manufacturers of non-scheduled formulations are not allowed to increase the maximum retail price of such formulations by more than 10 % per annum,’’ he explained. – The Hindu

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