Pharmaceuticals Department forms panel to reform prices of drugs and medical devices

The department has also initiated the process to bring in institutional reforms in National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority and seek how to balance price and availability of essential medicines

March 14, 2024 08:13 pm | Updated 08:52 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Image used for representative purpose only.

Image used for representative purpose only. | Photo Credit: AFP

With the aim of reforming the pricing framework for drugs and medical devices, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (Pricing Division) has constituted a committee, which is expected to submit its report within the next three months.

The committee is mandated to give inputs regarding institutional reforms within the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) as well as balancing price and availability of essential medicines, while providing incentives to the industry to sustain growth and exports.

In its communication on March 12, the department had specified that the committee will consist of three core members – Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals; Chairman, NPPA; and the Senior Economic Adviser, Department of Pharmaceuticals. Besides these members, the committee will have two special invitees from the industry - secretary-general, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), and chief executive officer, Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association (IDMA).

The communication about the formation and mandate of the committee has been shared with the IPA and IDMA, among others.

The committee will also look at designing a price moderation framework for medical devices while providing incentives to the industry to sustain growth and minimise imports, and designing a price moderation framework for emerging and precision therapies to facilitate their timely reach to needy patients. The committee will also draft a new Drugs and Medical Devices (Control) Order.

The department has also brought in revised guidelines for the scheme titled “Strengthening of Pharmaceuticals Industry” (SPI) on Thursday, stating that pharmaceuticals is a key sector for achieving wellness for all Indians and in terms of providing employment to trained personnel.

“For this the department is supporting the pharma industry to enhance manufacturing capabilities by increased investment in greenfield projects through PLI [Production Linked Incentive] schemes. There are over 80 pharma clusters across the country and over 10,500 manufacturing facilities,’’ the department said. This scheme addresses the demand and requirement for support to already existing pharma clusters and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to improve productivity, quality, and sustainability.

Three sub-schemes - Assistance to Pharmaceutical Industry for Common Facilities, Pharmaceutical Technology Upgradation Assistance Scheme, and Pharmaceutical Promotion and Development Scheme that have already been approved - have now been combined into a single scheme with modification in the scheme guidelines, after stakeholder consultations for effective intervention, the department noted.

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