NEW DELHI: Continuing its attack on the NITI Aayog and other departments for not pursuing the goals of the Union government, RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has charged that corporates 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 pharmaceutical firms marketing these medicines are making profits in the range of 500 to 4,000 per cent, that too after 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,” said the letter.
While the RSS affiliate lauded the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority for having ensured slashing of stent prices, it claimed that some 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 letter said.
The SJM, while referring to the three-year action plan of the NITI Aayog, mentioned that the panel has proposed that “Drug Price Control Order may be delinked from the National List of Essential Medicines” to ensure the objectives of access to effective medicines and a robust pharmaceutical industry.