In case of an emergency, or a natural disaster the government machinery swings into action to carry out a rescue and relief operation. Thousands of people who are affected need immediate emergency medical help.
Due to flood and natural disaster, there is always a threat of an epidemic. In order to tackle this issue the government is planning to set up a medicine bank. This decision can be of immense help people who are stranded or are cut-off from the world. The most recent example of this is Kerala floods which has ravaged the coastal state.
The Drugs Technical Advisory Board, in its 79th meeting held on May 16, 2018, deliberated the issue of launching a national medicine bank which can be utilised during emergencies.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister Of State for Health and Family Welfare, said, “They agreed for a provision for pharmaceutical companies, on the basis of their turnover, to spend at least one per cent of their net profit for providing free medicines in medicine bank to be used by the central government during health emergencies, disaster or any other circumstances considered necessary by the central government, as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the company, on a voluntary basis. “
While the contributions will be voluntary initially, the government is considering changes to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, to make it mandatory at a later stage.
The Drug Technical Advisory Board informed that should be left to companies to contribute on a voluntary basis, later on, it will be made part of the rules, making it mandatory for the companies to share a part of their profit for a good cause.
The health ministry will soon take up the matter with the law ministry to make necessary amendments to The Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
CSR rules mandate companies with a net worth of more than Rs 500 crore or revenue above Rs1, 000 crore or net profit higher than Rs5 crore to spend 2% of their average profit in the last three years on social development-related activities.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Abhijeet More, conveynor of Jan Aarogya Abhiyan, said, “The idea is a good one, but this initiative should have been taken by the pharmaceutical companies themselves. If the government improves the current regulatory system it will help benefit patients in a much better way.”