Spike in prices of life-saving drugs hits consumers : The Tribune India

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Spike in prices of life-saving drugs hits consumers

Spike in prices of life-saving drugs hits consumers

Most medicines fall under the purview of the Essential Commodities Price Control Act.



Our Correspondent

Palampur, March 18

A sudden spike in the prices of life-saving drugs has adversely hit the common man, with most pharmaceutical companies hiking the cost of medicines by 20 to 50 per cent.

The prices of medicines used to treat hypertension, diabetes, cancer and common gastrointestinal diseases have touched new heights in the past six months.

Though most medicines fall under the purview of the Essential Commodities Price Control Act, the government agencies are mute spectators to the increased prices.

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 the defaulters.

However, in present scenario, it seems, there is no one to initiate action against the defaulters.

In the absence of checks, the pharma companies are printing high maximum retail price (MRP) on

the medicine strips, forcing the poor patients to pay through the nose for

life-saving drugs. Citing an example how the pharma companies are “looting” the general public and the patients in particular, social activists Subhash Sharma and K B Ralhan said, “For a patient suffering from acidity, doctors prescribe Pantoprazole 40 mg, a strip of 10 tablets which has MRP of Rs 118. However, the actual cost price for 10 tablets is just Rs 24.15. There are hundreds of such medicines where the MRP is very high, giving a profit margin of 1,000 per cent to 1,500 per cent to retailers. This is just one example. It seems the administrative machinery and vigilance agencies which are supposed to supervise such issues are deliberately ignoring and allowing the open loot by the pharma companies.”

During the lockdown and Covid-19 crises, the prices of medicines touched a new high, but the prices came down when the pandemic was over. Generic medicines, which are affordable to the poor and the middle class, are reportedly being sold at higher prices today.

A senior officer of the state Drug Control Department, when contacted by The Tribune said the Centre had allowed the pharma companies to print high MRP in all types of drugs and the state government had no power to intervene in the matter. The Central Drug Controller has the authority to check the prices.

#Cancer #Palampur


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