Message from Chairman
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, an independent body of
experts, has completed 12 years of its active role in contributing
towards making available pharmaceutical products at reasonable
prices. I being the
First Member Secretary of this Authority during 1997-99, remember
how much we toiled to establish NPPA on pillars of strength. These
pillars represent objectivity, speed, transparency and commitment.
Now as Chairman of NPPA, I note with happiness that this has
been carried forward by the successive Chairmen, leading NPPA
getting IS/ISO 9001:2000 certification in January, 2008.
The motto is to serve the consumers while encouraging the
pharma manufacturers to produce adequate quantity of quality
products to meet the rising demand.
We are of the firm opinion that the NPPA needs to maintain a fine balance between the interests of consumers and the producers in its work. However, sometimes we tend to make too much of price control. The fact is that as of now, out of the original list of 74 Bulk drugs under price control, only about 45 drugs are produced in the country. The remaining drugs have either lived their life or are not being produced, because of better substitutes. Thus, of the total turnover of about Rs.90,000 crore per annum of pharma industry, approximately 8% are under price control (and accounting for 20% of the domestic retail sales). Notwithstanding this, some of the manufacturers have considerable share in producing the controlled drugs and they require necessary incentive for serving the large mass of people.
For NPPA, what is crucial is to monitor the drug prices, their movement, and prices of new launches and take remedial measures for ensuring “Affordable Medicines for All”. This requires a much closer watch on the price movement of bulk drugs and formulations, which may not fall necessarily in the controlled category. Cooperation of pharmaceutical industry is a pre-requisite condition and I am sure, they recognize their great social responsibility to provide medicines to the needy at reasonable prices. We presume that they also take note of the established outcome that by keeping the prices affordable for the common people, the demand generally rises leading to increase in volumes and profit in absolute terms. Therefore, let there be no effort to circumvent the price fixation and permissible price increase. So long as the matter remains simple and straight, it is beneficial to both, the Industry and the Consumers.
The price fixation and monitoring is for the well defined and approved combinations and the affordability of quality drugs needs to be ensured. Further, prompt feed back to NPPA by the pharmaceutical companies as laid down in DPCO would be beneficial to all concerned. I feel that several far flung and inaccessible areas of the country remain meagerly covered by the modern medicines, for a variety of reasons. For us, making a serious effort to reach affordable medicines in those areas is important from the “inclusive” angle of national progress.
As the NPPA also renders advice on changes/revision in drug policy,
we intend contributing more meaningfully in this regard.
In this task, as well as for serving the patients/consumers
better, I would seek the cooperation of Pharma Industry,
Associations, Trade and State Governments.
I would also welcome all concerned to use the interactive web
portal of NPPA.
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