Panel set up to curb prices of key drugs

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Even as out of pocket expenditure on medicines continues to rise, the government has set up a panel to explore ways to make drugs affordable for the common man by revisiting the pharmaceutical pricing policy. The committee, set up by the department of pharmaceuticals, has been asked to suggest policy measures as also penalty that can be introduced in the drug law to deter companies from overcharging consumers on pharmaceutical products.

The move comes in the wake of PM Narendra Modi directing the department to take immediate measures to further bring down drug prices so that they are affordable for everyone.

Healthcare expenditure has been on the rise as the burden of critical diseases like cancer, diabetes and hypertension is constantly increasing requiring patients to continue with medication throughout their lives.

 The six member committee, which has representatives from health ministry, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and National Health System Resources Centre (NHSRC) apart from DoP itself, will also suggest changes in the existing drug law and is likely to give more teeth to NPPA, which currently regulates prices of pharmaceutical products in the country.
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