Amid concerns over pricing mechanism of essential drugs, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has sought opinion from the law ministry on the Supreme Court interim order restraining the government from altering the current price mechanism for such medicines.
"We are taking legal opinion from the legal affairs department under the Ministry of Law and Justice on the October 3, interim order of the Supreme Court, which asked the government not to alter the existing pricing system for essential medicines," an official told PTI.
The department is seeking clarity on whether the apex court could issue directives to the government for following a particular methodology for pricing mechanism of essential drugs, the source added.
DoP wants to be "clear" about the issue before the NationalPharmaceutical Pricing Policy, which was cleared last month by a panel of ministers headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, goes to the cabinet for approval.
Concernedover the possibility of steep hike in drug prices, the Supreme Court had asked the government not to alter the existing pricing system for essential medicines.
"We make it clear that the government should not alter the price system as notified on July 13, 1999, and similar subsequent notification," a bench headed by justice G S Singhvi had said in its directive on October 3.
The court's directive came after the group of ministers (GoM) on drug pricing policy last month approving to bring 348 medicines in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)under price control.
The GoM had also mooted fixing of prices based on weighted average of prices of all brands, which have more than 1per cent market share.