The theme of the workshop was Accessibility, Affordability & Availability of Pharmaceutical Products
The Drugs Control Department, Government of NCT, Delhi, in association with National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) at FICCI, Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi organised a workshop on “Accessibility, Availability and Affordability of Pharmaceutical Products” recently. The purpose of the workshop was to familiarise the health department and other stake holders about various provisions of DPCO, 2013 and other issues regarding accessibility, availability and affordability of essential drugs to the consumers.
The workshop was inaugurated by Satyendar Jain, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of NCT, Delhi. In his address, Jain emphasised on ensuring availability of medicines to poor patients at affordable prices. He also shared details on the initiatives of Delhi Government regarding opening of Mohalla Clinics, Providing free diagnostic testing and medicines to every resident of Delhi. He further informed the gathering that the Delhi Government is soon taking steps to ensure that generic medicines are prescribed by doctors in all government hospitals in Delhi and requested NPPA officers to put a cap on the trade margin up to a maximum of 50 per cent.
Raajiv Yaduvanshi, Principal Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Government of NCT of Delhi during his key note address informed that Drugs Control Department, Delhi is committed to curb the pharma drug abuse and has taken zero tolerance stand on the issue. He further added that though the checking of overcharging is the duty of regulators but it is a team work of all stakeholders.
Bhupendra Singh, Chairman, NPPA informed that NPPA has fixed ceiling price of 821 scheduled medicines so far including 65 cardio vascular, 12 anti-diabetics, 41 HIV/ AIDS, 28 tuberculosis and 70 anti-cancer drugs. In addition, NPPA has fixed prices of 106 non-schedule medicines under para 19 of DPCO, 2013 out of which 84 are used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and 22 for diabetes.
Sudhansh Pant, Joint Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India explained the importance of 3As included in the title/ theme of the workshop. He apprised the audience on the initiatives of government regarding opening of Jan Ausadhi Kendra in the country which is a very significant step in the service of masses and towards making affordable medicines available to the public at large and informed that as on date we are having more than 3000 Jan Ausadhi stores all over the country. He also stressed upon minimising the difference in prices between generic/ branded generics and branded medicines.
SN Misra, Special Secretary Health, Government of NCT, Delhi during his welcome address stressed that all stakeholders should be committed to work together to achieve the objective of making efficacious and quality medicines available to the consumers at affordable price.
Atul Kumar Nasa, Head of Office/ Controlling Authority Drugs Control Department, Government of NCT, Delhi proposed the vote of thanks to all the dignitaries present and all other participating delegates in the workshop and assured the commitment of Drugs Control Department, Government of NCT, Delhi towards stopping pharma drug abuse (drug addiction) and availability of safe, efficacious and quality medicines to the consumers at affordable price.
The workshop was attended by various professionals from the pharma industry, IDMA, FOPE, CIPI, BDMA, Officers from NPPA, Officers from Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. of India, Officers from Drug Control Department/ CDSCO, Representatives from FICCI, Representatives from Pharmexcil, RDCA, Academicians, PG students from Pharmacy Colleges and Representative from NGOs and Consumer Associations.
Various eminent resource persons/ speakers delivered their excellent talk/ presentations on topics related to the theme of the conference. Rakesh Ranjan, Member Secretary, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) delivered a talk on “Mandate, Activities and Achievements of NPPA: An overview” and apprised the audience about various provisions of DPCO and also informed about activities of NPPA and its achievements.
BR Sikri, President Federation of Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs (FOPE) spoke on ‘Drugs-Delhites- Industry’. Sikri spoke from industry’s point of view stating that basic mission of the industry is to make everyone healthy. He said that affordability and availability of medicines is contradictory and accessibility to healthcare is responsibility of drugs regulatory authorities. He suggested and requested Government to take initiatives to bring the pharma industry back to Delhi, which shifted to Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, due to tax rebate provided to the investors by the respective state governments.
Bejon Kumar Misra, Founder, Patient Safety & Access Initiative, shared his view on “Patients Perspective on Affordability and Accessibility of Medicines”. Bejon further added that the cost of health care to the patient including hospital charges, testing charges along with cost of medicines should be minimised and government needs to take many more steps to this direction. He also proposed that general public should be made aware about NPPA and its achievement/activities through wide publicity. Kalyan Nag, Advisor, NPPA delivered a talk on “Monitoring and Enforcement Activities of NPPA.”
SW Deshpande, Ex Joint Commissioner, FDA (Maharashtra) & Director General, AIDCOC spoke on “Regulatory Intervention to ensure Accessibility, Availability and Affordability of Medicines” putting forth the regulator’s point of view on the issue and enlightened the delegate with various provisions under DPCO from time to time that have been
Arun Mishra, Executive VP, Regulatory Affairs, GSK Consumer Health Care, India delivered a talk on ‘Challenges & Opportunities- Access to Health Care and Medicines in India’. He said that Digital India is fuelling accessibility of medicines. e-consultation, e-pharmacy, e-retail chains and e-diagnostics are changing the healthcare ecosystem which is improving access to healthcare. New innovations like robotics, drone ambulance, remote surgery etc., are also some of the solutions towards better accessibility. APS Sawhney, Director, NPPA highlighted the ‘Challenges in Implementation of DPCO, 2013’.
Aprajita Takiar, MD, Lark Laboratories (India), spoke on improvisation in healthcare system using modern techniques which is being followed by developed countries who are using model management tools, PPP model, etc. to increase efficiency of manpower in healthcare management.
The event also witnessed a panel discussion comprising Subhash Malhotra, MD, Seagull Pharmaceuticals; Jaswant Chauhan, Chairman, Obsurge Biotech; SW Deshpande, Ex-Joint Commissioner, FDA, Maharashtra; PK Jaggi, Chief Pharmacy Services, Delhi State Cancer Institute; and Rakesh Ranjan, IAS – Member Secretary, NPPA, New Delhi to discuss different issues which were raised and deliberated at length.