ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Cleaning Up the Pharma Industry

For over 30 years pharmaceutical companies have been selling fixed-dose combination drugs with scant need to justify their efficacy, safety or rationality for use. The Government of India has finally banned 344 such drugs, though pharma companies have been able to obtain interim judicial stay orders. It is hoped that the courts take into account the serious public health implications of the sale of certain drugs and allow regulatory intervention banning uncertified combination drugs, including codeine-based cough syrups and various cold and flu drugs.

Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy: A Critique

The recently announced draft National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy 2011 fails to ensure accessible and affordable medicines for all in India. This is due to the limited scope and market-based approach it offers to price control. Among other measures, policy should fix ceiling prices based on lowest priced alternatives instead of high-priced top sellers, aim to revive pharmaceutical public sector undertakings, and expand the current National List of Essential Medicines. Most importantly, pharmaceuticals must be brought under the remit of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to allow better coordination for public health interests.
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