The new order also ends the existing mechanism in which drugs declared essential would automatically come under price control. From now, the NITI Aayog committee will decide which drugs should be under price control.
Medicines under price control will be now be identified by a NITI Aayog committee instead of NPPA. The committee will supersede the NPPA and will overlook matters regarding affordable and generic medicines, along with the quality of essential medical devices.
The Department of Pharmaceutical on Monday, January 21, has issued an order to constitute a committee to monitor the drug prices in the country. The NITI-Aayog led expert panel will recommend the prices of drugs to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
The Standing Committee on Affordable Medicines and Health Products will have seven members and will be headed by the member health Niti Aayog. Apart from this, Chief Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Secretary Department of Health Research, Vice Chairman of the National List of Essential Medicine will also be a part of the committee.
While tweeting about the development, NITI Aayog tweeted saying, “The Government has formed a committee housed in #NITIAayog to recommend medicines for price control. The members of the committee, who are from varied sectors, will give a holistic perspective to address price-related issues.”
The union government has been working relentlessly to make sure that the affordable medicines are available to the masses.
In the order dated January 21, the government has said that the NITI-led panel can co-opt the experts from the different ministries and pharma associations. And the committee can take the matter for examination sou-mot or on the recommendations of the NPPA.
Till now, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped prices of various drugs and stents which has benefited the poor and needy patients. Other affordable medicines and essential products which are needed for replacements will now be reviewed under this committee.