The parliament was also apprised about the details of drugs under the list of Essential Medicines, as included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2015, available on the website of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO).
New Delhi: The price of 1032 essential medicines have been capped by the government to help provide poor medicines at cheaper rates, the Rajya Sabha was informed recently.
The parliament was also apprised about the details of drugs under the list of Essential Medicines, as included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2015, available on the website of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) i.e. www.cdsco.gov.in. The NLEM, 2015 includes 376 medicines. Subsequently, coronary stents were included in the list in 2016.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. The list is made with consideration to disease prevalence, efficacy, safety and comparative cost-effectiveness of the medicines.
In India, the NLEM is prepared by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (M/o H&FW). The criteria adopted by the Core Committee constituted by M/o H&FW for preparation of NLEM, 2015 for the inclusion of a medicine in NLEM, 2015 were as follows-
(i) The medicine should be approved/licensed in India.
(ii) The medicine should be useful in preventing/treatment of a disease which is a public health problem in India.
(iii) The medicine should have proven efficacy and safety profile based on valid scientific evidence.
(iv) The medicine should be comparatively cost effective.
(v) The medicine should be aligned with the current treatment guidelines for the disease.
(vi) The medicine should be stable under the storage conditions in India.
(vii) Medicines recommended under National Health Programmes of India.
(viii) When more than one medicine is available from the same therapeutic class, preferably one prototype/ medically best-suited medicine of that class to be included after due deliberation and careful evaluation of their relative safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness.
(ix) Price of total treatment to be considered and not the unit price of a medicine.
(x) FDC is not included unless the combination has unequivocally proven advantages over single compounds administered separately, in terms of increasing efficacy, reducing adverse effects and/or improving compliance.
(xi) The medicine in NLEM will be based at Primary, Secondary and Tertiary (P/S/T) levels of health care according to treatment facilities and training, experience and availability of health care personnel at these levels.
“As could be seen from the criteria mentioned above, cost-effectiveness, and not high-market price, of a medicine was a criterion for it to be included in NLEM,” reads D V Sadananda Gowda’s response to a query regarding the list of essential medicines.
“A Standing National Committee on Medicines (SNCM) has been constituted by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in July, 2018 to review and revise the National list of Essential Medicines (NLEM) by way of additions and deletions in the existing NLEM in the context of contemporary knowledge of use of therapeutic products in health & hygiene of general public,” he added while replying to the questions.
Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukhlal Mandavia said the government is attempting to provide 700 drugs in Jan Aushadi Stores and a total of 20 truck-loads of medicines are being supplied to such stores per day for providing drugs at cheaper rates to the poor.
He said Jan Aushadhi stores are opened with an aim of providing quality and affordable drugs to the poor.
Mandavia, while replying to questions, said the government has fixed trade margins of 42 medicines relating to cancer and other diseases, which has helped bring down their price by 90 per cent.
“A total of 526 formulations are now available at 90 per cent less rates than the market after the government has taken this initiative of fixing trade margins,” the minister said.
Asked about any checks on pharma producers selling such drugs at higher rates, the minister said, the National Pharma Pricing Authority (NPPA) has been set up by the government and is looking into whether anyone is selling drugs at higher prices, reports PTI.