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      Freeze prices of life-saving drugs: Pharma Industry

      Posted AtIndia Infonline

      The CII on Thursday announced that the Indian pharmaceutical industry favors freezing prices of life-saving drugs in core essential pricing, allowing increases only due to inflation and taxes, to augment production and supply of such drugs. The pharmaceuticals industry recommends a short-term price freeze at current levels with inflationary adjustments on a year-on-year basis. In the medium term, with industry participation, a comprehensive and well thought through policy needs to be evolved. The Mashelkar Committee recommendations1999 must be implemented to spur Indian research.

      The CII note details the view of the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industry on the draft recommendations of the Government Task Force to Explore Options other than Price Control. The objective of the Task Force is to make life-saving drugs available at reasonable prices.

      The current recommendations of the above task force would constrain the industry growth at a time when it is on the verge of a new era requiring substantial investment to become an export powerhouse and be R&D driven. The policy looks at the "cost plus" method at a time when copying patented drugs is not possible and substantial investments in R&D are needed to bring new drugs to market. Therefore, any policy for Pharma sector must strike a balance for the need to have affordable healthcare and availability of safe and efficacious medicines and providing an impetus for R&D and innovation, says the note.

      The CII note suggests four aspects of a comprehensive new policy. First, re-assessing the criteria for selecting molecules to be brought under price monitoring (allowing a filter of competitiveness or low cost of daily therapy). Second, updating price monitoring for some classes of medicines (already under price control or OTC drugs). Third, clarifying regulatory mechanisms. Fourth, incentives for spurring indigenous research. The note suggests several recommendations for a comprehensive policy which balances access with the need to invest in research and development in India.

      September 15, 2005


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