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Urgent need for a transparent, predictable regulatory environment

The Healthcare Federation of India on Wednesday urged the government to develop a transparent and predictable regulatory environment, particularly around pricing.

It submitted its recommendations to PMO, pharmaceuticals department, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, health and family welfare ministry and NITI Aayog.

The healthcare industry body sought creation of mechanisms where decisions are not unilateral, linked to quality/standards and arrived at after due deliberations at central and state level with appropriate input from the industry.

“An unstable pricing regulatory environment has deep disincentives for investments and access to financing, which are critically needed now.

“A consultative process with checks and balances needs to be created, as we need to develop a framework that ensures that quality and patient safety are never compromised,” NATHEALTH said in a statement.

It added that this will require adopting value-based procurement norms which rewards best-quality/patient safety per unit of cost (not cost alone).

The industry body also sought bolstering of existing infrastructure in order to be well prepared against a possible third wave of COVID-19 in the country.

The representation highlights that while first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic have already overburdened the health system in the country, there are countless non-COVID-19 patients who are suffering prolonged agony, NATHEALTH noted.

It added that the patients are at risk of worsening physical and mental health in the absence of adequate medical attention.

The healthcare industry body urged the government to initiate urgent action on granting flexibility to hospitals to give adequate attention to non-COVID-19 patients as well, it added.

The organisation also sought creation of new medical infrastructure, unlocking of working capital for the medical technology and broader healthcare sector, expansion of health financing and public spend, it added.

The body also demanded development of resilience in the rural and peri-urban areas and scaling up healthcare service access beyond metro cities through technology.

NATHEALTH also sought release of payment dues of medical technology firms to free up working capital to invest in inventory of critical spare and lifesaving equipment.

Its Senior Vice-President Shravan Subramanyam said, “The pandemic has exposed the missing links in the Indian healthcare system — shortage of skilled staff, beds and infrastructure has taken the limelight.”

He added that it is heartening to see how private players from across industries have joined hands with the government to close these gaps and to help healthcare providers navigate strongly during these times.

The private healthcare sector is also looking beyond the pandemic to ensure that cardiology, oncology and trauma patients are empowered with timely and adequate attention so that their health does not deteriorate further, he added.

NATHEALTH comprises leading healthcare service providers, medical technology players , diagnostic service entities, health insurance companies, health education institutions, and healthcare publishers. FE