By IPA Special Correspondent
A delegation of the Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Healthcare (ADEH) in a memorandum submitted to the Chairperson of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Ms Shubhra Singh, has demanded that the prices of drugs which include medicines, consumables and medical devices should be streamlined. The profit on these should be capped at 30per cent from the ex-factory price to the consumer. At present it is up to 5000 per cent in some cases as observed by the Committee on High Trade Margins in the Sale of Drugs.
The committee had submitted its report on 9th December 2015 demanding capping of drug prices. But unfortunately the government has slept over it. This is hitting the patient hard as expenses on drugs forms nearly 67 per cent of out of pocket expenditure on healthcare. The delegation did not agree with the contention of the industry that lowering of trade margin will bring down their sale.
This they are talking because there is unhealthy competition. But if the price is made uniform and trade margins are streamlined, the sale of no one will suffer and there will be competition based on quality.
In fact, the delegation argued that once the medicines are sold to the retailer by the industry after making their share of profit margin, it is the retailer who is making exorbitant profit on these drugs at the expense of the poor patients by selling at very high MRP. Streamlining of the profit will in fact make the things easy for the industry.
The delegation comprising of Dr. G S Grewal, Dr. Arun Mitra and Dr. Monica Chandy, members of the core committee of the ADEH said that same drug is being sold under different brand names at different cost. There should be one drug one price formula. All the drugs should be sold only under pharmacological/chemical name. Name of the company may be written at the bottom of the product box/wrapper. Aberration of MRP and actual cost difference in case of generic drugs will be taken care of if product box/wrapper mentions the cost price and the MRP so as to specify the profit margin in a transparent manner.
The delegation also demanded that all chemicals once they are labelled as drugs should be brought under the category of essential drugs. Drug is not a choice of the patient but discretion of prescriber, the delegation said. Therefore these should be automatically brought under the scheduled list essential drugs. They also requested the NPPA to ensure that companies do not sell the drugs at inflated cost on the pretext of shortage due to corona virus. (IPA Service)