The Union government has constituted a committee inside NITI Aayog to recommend medicines and drugs that need to brought under price control, reports Mint.
This move might dilute the powers of the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) in regulating the prices of medicines in the country.
The Authority, which was established under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995, was previously the only agency tasked with fixing/revising the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations mentioned in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). That is expected to change with the new standing committee.
A 21 January order from the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers created the Standing Committee on Affordable Medicines and Health Products (SCAMHP) led by member (health), NITI Aayog. The committee will also include the chief economic adviser, besides secretary, department of health research, director-general of health services, vice-chairperson, National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and joint secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion.
“The committee should be housed in NITI Aayog and will be serviced by it," the order stated.
Not In The Interest Of Public?
However, health activists allege that the new committee will strip the powers of NPPA and affect the availability of affordable medicines in the country. However, the government notification clarified that the committee would be "a recommending body to NPPA, regarding prices of drugs and health products'.
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