Essential Drugs Current Affairs

Union Government caps prices of 24 essential drugs

The Union Government has capped the prices of 24 essential drugs used for treatment of cancer, HIV, bacterial infections, anxiety and cardiac conditions.

In this regard, the Drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has issued an order. It revised ceiling prices of 24 scheduled formulations of schedule-I under Drugs (Price Control) Amendment Order, 2016.

With this cost of these 24 essential drugs has been reduced by an average of around 25 per cent. Besides, NPPA also capped the retail price of 31 formulations under Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 2013.

Background

  • The Union Government through NPPA fixes prices of essential drugs based on simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment, having sales of more than 1%.
  • Besides, it also monitors the maximum retail prices of all the drugs and companies are allowed to hike prices of non-scheduled drugs by up to 10% in a year.
  • NPPA decides the ceiling prices essential medicines under The Drug (Prices Control) Order 2013. So far it covers 680 formulations.

About National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

  • NPPA is nodal government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India. It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser.
  • It advices Union Government in matters relate to drug policies and pricing. Besides, it also renders advice to the Union Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy.

What are Essential medicines?

  • Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the country’s population.
  • They are listed with reference to the levels of healthcare namely primary, secondary and tertiary.
  • They are generally based on the country’s disease burden, priority health concerns, affordability concerns etc.
  • In India National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) formed in 2011 decides the essential medicines. The list is prepared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The NLEM is a dynamic list and is reviewed every 3 years to include or exclude drugs as relevant to the newest medical innovations and aligned to the current market competition.

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