NEW DELHI: Continuing to attack the NITI Aayog and other departments for not pursuing the goals of the NDA government at the Centre, the RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) in a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has charged that the corporate are being favoured to make excessive profits in sales of medicines.
Arguing that the current formula for arriving at a ceiling price of essential medicines is an irrational market-based formula that legitimises profiteering and which is against the interests of the people, the SJM in the April 29 letter to the PM claimed that pharmaceutical companies marketing these medicines are making profits in the range of 500 to 4000 per cent and that too after imposing price controls.
“Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies could influence the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP), which changed the ceiling price formula as a result of which they were able to make super profits. So powerful has the pharmaceutical companies been that the secretaries and joint secretaries of three ministries, namely Health and Family Welfare, Commerce and Industry through Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and Chemicals and Fertilisers are now holding meetings along with the NITI Aayog to completely dismantle the system of price control,” claimed the SJM letter.
While the RSS affiliate lauded the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) for having ensured slashing of price of stents, it claimed that the a few of the ministries along with the NITI Aayog are “conspiring to sabotage the new body”.
“Ironically, a committee for ensuring enhanced accessibility of drugs to the poor has been formed on March 31, 2017 and chaired by the Joint Secretary (Pharma Policy), DOP. Its real purpose is to pander to the pharmaceutical companies, undermine the good work done by the NPPA and ultimately to abort any attempt to do effective price control and make medicines affordable in India. It has also come to our notice that the NITI Aayog has contacted representatives of various ministries with the intention of framing a new drug policy and revamping the DPCO 2013,” the SJM charged in the letter to the PM.
The SJM, while referring to the three years action plan of the NITI Aayog, mentioned that the think-tank panel has proposed that “Drug Price Control Order may be delinked from the National List of Essential Medicines” to ensure the twin objectives of access to effective medicines and a strong pharmaceutical industry.
“It is shocking to see senior officials of ministries and the NITI Aayog acting in such a concerted fashion to lobby for the crass commercial interests of the pharmaceutical sector,” the letter has noted.
It may be recalled that the SJM had organised a seminar in the national capital on the working of the NITI Aayog a few months ago and it has since been demanding dismantling of the think-tank panel.