NEW DELHI: The NDA government has brought 615 essential drugs under the price control mechanism, while the prices of more than 444 drugs have come down in the last six months, Minister of Chemical and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar informed Parliament on Thursday.
Kumar said when the NDA came to power in May, only 440 medicines were under price control and within six months, the Centre added 175 more drugs to the list. Kumar said that in the last six months, the price of no drug or medicine had been hiked by the government and the Opposition’s claim that a cancer drug price had been raised from Rs 8,000 to Rs 1,08,000, was false.
The government is also implementing two important mechanisms -- Integrated Pharmaceuticals Database Management System and setting up of price monitoring resources unit in each state to control the prices, Kumar said replying to a Calling Attention Motion.
In the calling attention motion, Congress MPs Ranjeet Ranjan and Susmita Dev accused the Modi government of raising prices of essential drugs, including those used for treating cancer, heart ailments, HIV and diabetes.
They slammed the government for botched up sterilisations in Chhattisgarh, which claimed 17 lives, claiming the sharp rise in drug prices and easy availability of spurious medicines were the major reasons behind such incidents.
Ranjeet claimed that the government hiked the prices of medicines for cancer and heart patients. She said prices of medicines for TB, diabetes and HIV were hiked to 5 to 12 times more and said it was a conspiracy by USA.
“People who were attending to the surgeries at the sterilisation camp did not bother to change their gloves. 86 women were operated on, which meant a minute and a half was spent on one patient, and there was no time to sterilise the equipment. We need a re-look at our family planning programme,” Susmita said.
BJP MP varun Gandhi drew Opposition ire when he mentioned that fabian socialism will not work in 2014. He said the government needs an approach where poor people are protected as well as pharmaceuticals industries. “We need to have an approach where we protect the poorest amongst us and those industries which will provide greater employment and greater innovation in R&D,” Varun said.