A ministers panel, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, today finalised the pharma pricing policy under which 348 essential drugs will come under price control of the government.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) will be sending their recommendations to the Cabinet within a week for approval to bring drugs in National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), that have a total sales of around Rs 29,000 crore, which is about 60 per cent of the domestic market, under control. "We have finalised every thing today. Now it will go to the Cabinet and the Cabinet will take the final view. We will send it in a week's time," Pawar told reporters here after the meeting.
At present, the government through the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), controls prices of 74 bulk drugs and their formulations.
Fertilisers and Chemicals Minister Srikant Jena said the GoM arrived at a consensus on the option which entails the use of weighted average prices for all the drugs which have a market-share of more than one per cent.
"There were three-four option present in front the GoM but I think broad agreement has been made on the option of one per cent market share...," Jena said.
He said there was consensus for the inclusion of 348 drugs in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). When asked if it would be mandatory for the doctors to prescribe generic drugs, Jena said: "The health ministry will look at it... more number of generic drug shops will be open in the country".
Apart from Pawar, Sharma and Jena, other members of the group include Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister for HRD, Communications and IT Kapil Sibal, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.