Spike in life-saving drug prices irks consumers

Spike in life-saving drug prices irks consumers

A sudden spike in the prices of life-saving drugs has hit the common man. Most pharmaceutical companies, on the pretext of Covid, have increased the prices of medicines by 20 per cent to 50 per cent. Photo for representation only

Ravinder Sood

Palampur, September 10

A sudden spike in the prices of life-saving drugs has hit the common man. Most pharmaceutical companies, on the pretext of Covid, have increased the prices of medicines by 20 per cent to 50 per cent.

The prices of medicines used for hypertension, diabetes and common gastro diseases have touched a new high in the past three months. The prices of antibiotics used in the treatment of coronavirus have almost doubled.

The Essential Commodity Price Control Act is also applicable in the state and all types of drugs are covered under it. The Act authorises the government to regulate the prices of all essential commodities. It has also given powers to district magistrates to initiate action against defaulters. However, no action has been taken.

Besides, in the absence of a check, pharma companies are printing very high MRP on the medicine strips.

Social activists Subhash Sharma and KB Ralhan said a patient suffering from acidity was prescribed pantoprazole- 40 mg, a strip of 10 tablets, which has an MRP of Rs 118. However, the actual price of the 10 tablets is just Rs 13.15. There are hundreds of such medicines where the MRP is very high, giving 1,000 per cent to 1,500 per cent profit margin to retailers.

The administrative machinery and vigilance agencies, which are supposed to supervise the issues, are ignoring and allowing the pharma companies to dupe consumers.

A senior officer of the state Drug Control Department said the Centre had allowed the pharma company to print MRP on all types of drugs and the state government had no power to intervene. The Central Drug Controller had the authority in this regard.

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