December 2012

New drug pricing policy: a pill to cure all ill?

Indias approval for a new drug pricing policy, designed to increase the number of essential drugs from 76 to 348 with price caps, is a welcome move. But will it really serve the purpose or deliver the goods for the masses?

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An analysis of the policy makes it clear that it will benefit a specific segment of society who can afford to buy medicines. They will now get it under a regulated price mechanism at lower rates. But the policy is not going to ensure availability of drugs to the large suffering   masses, who cant afford to buy medicines even after a price cap. While the Governments efforts to bring more drugs under price control are aimed at making medicines affordable for the poor, local and foreign drug producers argue that there is enough competition to ensure that medicines sold in India are among the cheapest in the world.

When generic drugs in the country are available at the cheapest prices in the whole world, the new policy of the Government will not cut much ice as price regulation makes sense in case of drugs where there is a monopoly or a duopoly. One of the striking aspects of the policy is that patented drugs are not covered under it, though India is considering a mechanism to regulate prices of medicines which are covered by patent protection. Under the new policy, the ceiling price of a particular drug would be calculated by taking the arithmetic mean of the prices of all the brands that have more than one percent market share. According to industry reports, the new  policy is expected to cover up to 30 percent of the total drugs sold in the country.

However, speaking about the current issue of eHealth magazine, the magazine has tried to bring about some of the very recent updates of Indian healthcare. For example, the present trend of online healthcare, market dynamics of In-Vitro-Diagnostics (IVD) in India and about the Self Monitoring Blood Glucose system. Additionally, the magazine has special reports around the discussions that had taken place at the eINDIA Health Summit, 2012 conference held last month. The conference witnessed eminent speakers, delegate participation, students, hospital CEOs, CXOs, doctors etc. The report will give you a glimpse of the healthcare stakeholders views and  opinions.

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Then the December issue has special interviews of Shivinder Mohan Singh, MD, Fortis Healthcare, Aravind Sitaraman, President Inclusive Growth, Cisco and many more.

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