The government on Saturday said it will soon amend norms to empower National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to regulate about 350 medicines and ensure they are sold at affordable rates.
At present, NPPA is not able to regulate 350 medicines, which are under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), in the absence of market data. Therefore, the authority needs to be empowered by amending the Drugs Prices Control Order (DPCO) for accessing the data.
“It (amendments) will be done soon. Whatever required to empower NPPA will be done. It will be an independent authority vested with all powers,” Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar said on the sidelines of an international event ‘India Pharma 2017’ here.
The price regulator will ensure that all medicines are regulated and are available at affordable rates to the public, he said.
Last year in August, the Minister had said that the DPCO will be amended in 15 days to enable NPPA regulate about 350 medicines. But the amendments have not yet been done.
Kumar said that much progress has been made to ensure medicines are available at affordable rates to people.
In last four-six months, about 1,450 medicines have been brought under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, (DPCO) 2013 — resulting in a saving of about Rs 5,000 crore to consumers, he said.
“Before 2014, prices of not 30-40 per cent medicines were controlled. For the first time, 1,450 medicines are brought under DPCO very successfully in last 4-6 months,” he said.
Stating that India has potential to be ‘pharmacy’ of the world, Kumar said the government is promoting in a big way domestic manufacturing of bulk drugs active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and medical devices.
He said that five med-tech zones and six pharma parks are being set up, while 100 per cent FDI has been allowed including in brown-field projects.
Efforts are being made to reduce the country’s dependence on import of medical devices, he said.
The Indian pharma industry has potential to reach USD 55 billion in the next couple of years from the current USD 33 billion, he added.