National signature campaign launched to bring glucometer strips under price control as per DPCO norms

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Aimed at making glucometer strips affordable for all diabetes patients, over 15,000 petitions have been signed till date as part of the national signature campaign under the auspices of Dr Gadage’s Diabetes Care Centre, Mumbai called as Price Ceiling Gluco Strips Petition.

“Post the signature campaign which started on World Diabetes Day on November 14, 2017, the case of overpriced Glucometer strips will be discussed with the drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to bring it under the ceiling prices as per the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) norms,” said Dr Pradeep Gadge, Diabetologist, Gadge Diabetes Centre.

Glucometer strips is one of the major recurring cost in regular monitoring of diabetes cost of which is further compounded as most companies charge Rs.20 to Rs.25 per glucometer strip. The cost to the patient is therefore exorbitantly high compared to the production cost which is roughly 50 paise per strip.

The reduction in the prices of glucometer strips shall ensure slight relief from the financial burden and help diabetics manage their blood glucose levels well.

“The cost of healthcare is drastically increasing, the manufacturing cost of a Glucostrip is 50 paise but the patient is charged Rs.25 to Rs.30. Those who need to keep a check on their Blood Glucose levels for more than once in a day will have to shell out around Rs.500 a day which may not be feasible for all. Especially if one keeps in mind the prevalence of diabetes in the country. The need of the hour is price ceiling of Glucostrips, this will help make it affordable for all,” added Dr Gadge.

According to a senior health ministry official which was part of the drafting committee of Uniform Code for Medical Device Marketing Practices (UCMDMP), “All such technologies which are closed systems like the Glucometer for which the patient has to buy the reagents of a particular brand can be given or considered as induced in turn incentive to the physician. If a company gifts the doctor a Glucometer, he will be forced to buy and then recommend the strips of the same Glucometer although the Glucometer was free. So in a way the company and the doctor are distorting the market.”

Moreover, there are Glucometers in the market which are of low quality and sub-standard nature that it is detrimental to patient safety as it can lead to improper diagnosis.

Millions of diabetics spend a substantial amount of their earnings on testing their blood glucose levels. The number of petitioners continues to increase with each passing day as this has turned up to be the need of the hour.

Although government has recently introduced the DPCO – 2013 which has helped reduce the prices of many medications, there has been no respite for Diabetics. Those with Type I Diabetes may have to check their blood glucose levels for around 3 to 4 times a day. With such steep pricing, it becomes difficult to bear the expenses.

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