Price Cap: NLEM Committe to now target intraocular lens, dialysis fluid, hearing aids;
New Delhi: After fixing the prices of various stents including cardiac stents and orthopaedic implants and even cancer drugs, the government is soon going to shift its focus to fixing the maximum prices of various other medical essentials.
As to a recent media report, the prices of hearing aids, intraocular lens and dialysis fluid indicated for treating kidney-related ailments is likely to be capped. For the same, the Government has constituted a new committee on the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) to regulate the prices of these products.
Earlier, in 2016, the Government had included two varieties of tiny wire mesh tubes known as stents into the National List of Essential Medicine (NLEM) that led to a steep drop in the price of these devices.
.Intraocular lenses are artificial lenses that are used to replace the eyes natural lens which is removed during the cataract surgery.
As per a media report by The Indian Express, Maharashtra FDA surveyed 15 brands of intraocular lenses used in India and found that cost for the retailer or the hospital starts from Rs 350 and goes up till Rs 15,200 for a lens. The cost to the patient, however, ranges between Rs 5,800 to Rs 26,550.
It is learnt that intraocular lenses and hearing aids manufacturers, distributors and hospitals are allegedly concealing profits ranging from 59% to 1500% on the manufacturing cost, thereby making it essential to cap the prices of these medical devices.
To regulate the same, the committee under the chairmanship of by Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) met the stakeholders and experts on the subject and shortlisted these three medical products-intraocular lenses, dialysis fluids and hearing aids, that should be available in adequate numbers and assured quality.
Thereafter, the NLEM committee sent the list to a second committee comprising Vice Chairman of NIT Aayog, Rajiv Kumar; Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health Ministry and P. D. Vaghela, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals for deciding which ones are to be brought under price control.
"The list, once adopted by the government, would become part of the drug price control order, and hence, the price is regulated," an official told Live Mint.
Besides, the committee has also been working to bring cancer drugs, cardiology drugs and penicillin preparations under price control.
The NLEM list is reviewed every three years to include or exclude drugs. Drugs and medical devices listed in NLEM should mandatorily be sold at the price fixed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority(NPPA), while those in the non-scheduled list are allowed a maximum annual price hike of 10%.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the price of 1032 essential medicines had been capped by the Government to help provide poor medicines at cheaper rates.