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355 life saving drugs may become cheaper

November 30, 2007 14:05 IST
The government is actively considering bringing 355 life saving drugs under price control and take a few additional measures to help the poor and below poverty line (BPL) families, once the Union Cabinet approves National Pharmaceutical Policy.

"The government is committed to ensure the availability of life saving drugs at reasonable prices. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing authority (NPPA) has taken a number of measures to this effect," said union minister of chemicals, fertilizers and minister of Steel Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday in the Rajya Sabha.

He said that the Pharmaceutical Policy is under consideration of the Cabinet after it has been vetted by a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

Responding to the demand of members to enumerate the suggestions of the GoM, Paswan said, "I cannot divulge the details of the GoM till Cabinet clears it."

The minister informed the House that 74 bulk drugs specified in the First Schedule of the Drugs (Price) control Order (DPCO) 1995 and the formulations based thereon are under price control and their prices are fixed/revised NPPA in accordance with the provisions of DPCO.

"It is under active consideration to bring 355 additional life saving drugs under price control," said Paswan. He also informed that the government has recently approved a Health Insurance Scheme 'The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana', which is expected to cover all the BPL families in the unorganised sector in the next five years.

The total sum insured would be Rs 30,000 per family per annum to cover hospitalisation expenses, he said.

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