October 13, 2014, 0800 IST
Even after several years of deliberations and negotiations with the stakeholders and others, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) is yet to finsalise a policy on pricing of patented drugs before they are imported into country.
Though the DoP had constituted an inter-ministerial committee of joint secretaries of different ministries in February this year to find a pricing formula for fixing the prices of patented drugs before they are imported into country, the committee is yet to come out with a lasting solution to the issue.
A final decision on pricing of patented drugs has been evading the government for several years now. The inter-ministerial committee, under the chairmanship of joint secretary (DoP), was constituted in light of the diverse opinion of different stakeholders received on DoP’s earlier report on patented drugs. The DoP’s action in this regard comes after the utter failure of the department to fix the prices of patented drugs in the country even though the department had held negotiations, re-negotiations and discussions with various stakeholders on the issue during the last several years.
The DoP had some years ago constituted an expert panel to suggest a method of reference pricing, price negotiations or differential pricing, etc. that could be applied for pricing of patented medicines and medical devices before their marketing approval in India. After several years of dilly-dallying on the issue, the panel submitted its report to the DoP in February, 2013.In its report, the committee had recommended a formula on price negotiation of patented drugs, linking it to the per capita income in the country. It also suggested setting up a committee headed by the chairman of the NPPA to decide the price of patented drugs before they are marketed for use in India.
Immediately after the submission of the report by the panel, the DoP had asked the stakeholders and experts to send their comments and suggestions by March 31 last year to take a final view on the report. But, as it did not get much response from the stakeholders, the department had then extended the date till May 7, 2013.
But, as it received diverse opinions from different stakeholders, the DoP decided to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to look into the issues and suggest ways and means to fix the prices of patented drugs in the country.
Now, the industry is waiting for this inter-ministerial committee’s report.