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DPCO for 350 drugs to be amended in 15 days: Ananth Kumar

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The minister also launched a new mobile app, ‘Pharma Sahi Daam’ to help customers to know the prices of medicines fixed by the NPPA

Drugs Prices Control Order (DPCO) will be amended in the next 15 days for enabling National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to fix prices for about 350 medicines whose market data is not available, stated Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, in New Delhi, on the occasion of the foundation day of the NPPA.

For about 350 medicines, which are under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), we are not getting any market data. To bring them under price control, we need to tweak the DPCO. In next 15 days, we are going to make the amendment to empower NPPA. The pricing of another 368 new formulations has also been fixed,” informed the minister.

He added that the prices of nearly 900 medicines have been fixed under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, (DPCO) 2013 — resulting in a saving of about Rs 5,000 crores to the consumers.

Stressing that the pharma sector requires a separate ministry, the minister informed that he would request the Prime Minister to declare August 29, the Foundation Day of NPPA, as ‘Rashtriya Jan Aushadhi Divas’.

“Indian pharma industry is likely to cross $50 billion in the next three years from $35 billion in 2015. We have taken up measures to boost industry such as allowing 100 per cent FDI in the pharma sectors, including brownfield projects,” he said.

The minister also informed that the government plans to open 3,000 Jan Aushadhi stores within one year across the country. There are about 400 stores in the country, currently.

Kumar also urged the NPPA to intervene and regulate the market to make essential drugs affordable to the poor and make generic drugs available to them.

The minister also launched a new mobile app ‘Pharma Sahi Daam’ that will help customers to know the prices of medicines fixed by the NPPA.

“The mobile app will empower the common man to make the right choice as they can know the price of a drug and the charges made by the chemist. The get complete information about the products, their composition and their rate,” the minister said.

The mobile app disseminates information on ceiling prices of scheduled medicines. It enables the buyer to check the MRP of any scheduled medicine. If there is any ceiling price violation the buyer will be able to lodge a complaint against company/ chemist through http://www.nppaindia.nic.in/redressal.htm

Emphasising on making the Indian pharma sector globally competitive, the minister said the government is developing pharma parks and medical devices parks which will reduce the production cost.

On the sideslines of the event, answering a question on bulk drug policy by Express Pharma, Kumar said, “We have already decided to establish three bulk drug parks in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Himachal Pradesh. We have received requests from Maharashtra and Gujarat also.” He added that the upcoming bulk drug parks would be equipped to face competition from any country, including China. He further informed that the state governments will provide the land while the central government will provide facilities like common effluent treatment plants and common infrastructure.

(with inputs from Prathiba Raju)

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