Cong hits out at Modi over drug pricing issue

Cong hits out at Modi over drug pricing issueNEW DELHI: Congress on Friday hit out at Narendra Modi government for “stripping” the drug pricing authority of powers to cap prices of non-essential drugs saying the Prime Minister has extracted a “very heavy price” from the country’s “poor and ailing” for “American visa and PR exercise”.

The party termed the decision by the BJP-led government as “anti-people and anti-national”.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers had last week ordered the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to withdraw a guideline under the Drug (Prices Control) Order of 2013 that gave the pricing authority powers to cap prices of non-essential drugs.

“While this move will get Modi good PR and earn the corporate houses undeserved profits, the common man – the middle and lower class Indian – will be left devastated by the sheer insensitivity of this move,” Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken told PTI.

By forcing NPPA to withdraw its guidelines dated May, 2014 for drug price fixation, Modi has “extracted a very heavy price from the country’s poor and ailing for his much awaited US visa and PR exercise while in US,” Maken alleged.

Earlier, the Ministry of Chemical and Fertilisers by the virtue of a notification dated May 30 last year had delegated the government’s power to regulate prices of Life Saving Drugs to the NPPA which in turn had successfully effected lower prices for a broad spectrum of Life Saving Drugs, he said.

The guidelines of the NPPA had sought to widen the ambit of drug price regulation beyond the NLEM (National List of Essential Medicines) list by including Life Saving Drugs – anti-cancer medicines, HIV drugs, anti-tuberculosis, anti-malaria, cardiovascular, anti-diabetes, anti-asthmatic drugs and immunologicals. -PTI

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