New Delhi: The complaints about the shortage or unavailability of drugs hat are filled with the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) have seen a whopping six-fold increase in 2017-18 as compared to 2016-17 t, according to a recent media report.
The complaints against the shortage or unavailability of drugs were filed on the Pharma Jan Samadhan, the regulator’s online complaint redressal system with respect to availability and pricing of medicines which was launched in March 2015.
As per an Indian Express report, NPPA data states that the number of complaints filed regarding the shortage of medicines increased to 42 in 2017-18 whereas it was just 7 in 2016-17. The daily reports that the total number of complaints filed in “Pharma Jan Samadhan” was 13 in 2016-17, which increased to 58 in 2017-18.
A senior government official, who is privy to the substance of complaints, told Express, “42 out of these 58 complaints were related to unavailability or shortage of drugs. In some cases, it was found that the supply of raw materials from foreign countries has slowed down, which hampered the drug production here in India. In 3-4 cases, the companies were found to be pushing substitute brands instead of the brand that is known to the people.”
To make drugs, raw materials are required which is known as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and is largely imported in India, largely from China. Currently, most of the drugs sold in India are branded generic drugs.
However, the official did not elucidate about what action was taken by the pricing authority against offending companies.
Pharma Jan Samadhan is an online facility to redress their complaints relating to over-pricing of medicines, non-availability or shortage of medicines, the sale of new medicines without prior price approval of NPPA, and the refusal of supply for sale of any medicine without good and sufficient reason.
NPPA initiates action on any complaint within 48 hrs of its receipt.