SC gives govt time till Nov 27 for final drug pricing policy

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave one month’s time to the Centre to come up with the final version of the drug pricing policy

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: October 12, 2012 1:16:28 am

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave one month’s time to the Centre to come up with the final version of the drug pricing policy.

Maintaining that the Centre must follow a pricing formula that will prevent the prices of the drugs from shooting up,the SC agreed to wait till mid-November for the Cabinet to come up with its final version of the new pricing policy.

“Drugs prescribed by doctors… are beyond the reach of common man. It’s an issue concerning everyone… we had told you that the old pricing formula can’t be changed,leading to increase in the prices of drugs in market… if there are two formula,the one advantageous to people must be accepted,” said a Bench,led by Justice G S Singvi.

Deliberating over different price mechanisms — one based on cost of production and the other weighted average pricing — the Bench observed that if the latter was employed,there was a likelihood that average prices of all drugs might go up in the open market.

Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra submitted that the government was conscious of its duties. “We don’t have to only control the prices of drugs but also ensure that the drugs,number of which will be 348 under National List of Essential Medicines,should also continue being manufactured. Earlier,out of 74 essential drugs,31 were stopped being manufactured,” he said. The Bench said it wants to know the drugs which are not being manufactured and how the government would ensure no such repetition in the current scenario.

The court deferred the matter for November 27.

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