[Ip-health] Drug pricing policy irrational, re-examine it, Supreme Court tells Centre

Tahir Amin tahir at i-mak.org
Thu Jul 16 13:09:26 PDT 2015


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to re-examine
its drug pricing policy for essential medicines, calling it "unreasonable
and irrational" as the price of some medicines is at around 4000% higher
than what has been fixed by some state governments.

A bench headed by Justice TS Thakur asked the ministry of chemicals and
fertilizers to analyze and give explanation why the controlled price of
essential medicines has been fixed at a high level depriving the poor from
getting life-saving drugs at reasonable rates.

"The formula does not seem reasonable and rational. Your pricing is 4000%
more than what is being provided by Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments. What
kind of control is it? Why are you not taking cognizance of it?" the bench
asked the government.

Additional solicitor general Pinky Anand assured the court that the
government would look into the issue and take corrective measures, if

The bench directed All India Drug Action Network, an NGO which challenged
the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), to make a representation to the
government. It said that the ministry would pass a reasoned order within
six months.

At present, the government caps prices of a total of 348 essential
medicines based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular
therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1 per cent.

The government had notified DPCO, 2013, which covers 680 formulations, with
effect from May 15, 2014, replacing the 1995 order that regulated prices of
only 74 bulk drugs.

Challenging the DPCO, the petitioner contended that under the new policy
the margin of profit for drug manufacturers and dealers had become 10-1300
per cent. It also said the National List of Essential Drugs consists of
only 348 drugs and left out many essential medicines from price control. --
Tahir Amin
Co-Founder and Director of Intellectual Property
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)
*Website:* www.i-mak.org
*Email:* tahir at i-mak.org
*Skype: *tahirmamin
*Tel:* +1 917 455 6601/+44 771 853 9472

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