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Shortage of drugs finds echo in Lok Sabha

The Congress members of the House blamed the Narendra Modi-led NDA government of curbing the powers of National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) resulting in exorbitant prices of essential drugs and non-availability of generic medicines in the market.

In a Calling Attention Motion, Congress members Ranjeet Ranjan and Susmita Dev accused the government of allowing extensive hike in essential drug prices, including those used for treating cancer, heart ailments, HIV and diabetes. While talking to Millennium Post Susmita Dev said, “The present government is working against public interest by rendering NPPA a redundant body by withdrawing its power to control  essential drugs.”

Dev, the Congress MP from Silchar in Assam, said, “Our demand is to provide more powers to NPPA by making it a statutory authority as the apex drug price controller has been created by a government circular.”

“We also demand  the government  review its drug procurement policy so that there is no shortage of drugs,” Dev added.

Meanwhile, replying to the motion, the government said that 615 essential drugs had been brought under the price control mechanism and cost of medicines had gone down over the last six months and more steps were on the anvil to check prices. By next month, government will come out with a new list of life-saving drugs whose prices would be controlled.

Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar said since the new government came to power in May, 175 essential drugs have been added to the list of drugs which are under price control mechanism, taking the number to 615 as 440 were already under its ambit.
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