Ensure drug prices do not rise, SC tells Centre
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Central government to ensure that its new pharma policy would not lead to rise in prices of medicines.
A Bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya cautioned the government against escalation in the prices of medicines and laboratory tests. “Prices should not escalate. There are apprehensions that prices will escalate. In the name of the new policy the prices shall not escalate. Because we have much more consumers in India than other parts of the world,” the court said.
Whatever may be the policy, it should help in lowering drug prices and not raising it. About 20 years back, a complete blood test could be done in Rs 60 and now it costs around Rs 6,000, the bench said.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by All India Drug Action Network of NGOs challenging the government’s proposed policy on drug pricing. The court asked the government to file an affidavit on the new policy and posted the matter for further hearing on January 17.
The Centre proposed a policy to control the prices of essential drugs. It had recommended a list of 348 drugs to be brought under drug price control order as against the current 74 drugs.