National body mulls cap on price of de-addiction drug - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

National body mulls cap on price of de-addiction drug

National body mulls cap on price of de-addiction drug

Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is planning to control Punjab’s de-addiction drug mafia’s Rs 1,000-crore worth business.

Acting on the issue taken up by the state government, the NPPA is planning to place de-addiction drug buprenorphine under the Drug Price Control Order. The NPPA is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of essential pharmaceutical drugs in India.

Sources said the issue was taken up with the authority by the state. In a meeting held on November 20 between the NPPA and the state government, the authority has agreed to control the price of buprenorphine.

Sources said NPPA chairperson Shubhra Singh has agreed to the state government’s proposal. The state government argued the case on the pretext that even the World Health Oraganisation placed buprenorphine in the list of essential medicines and considered it a human right in 2005.

Anurag Aggarwal, Principal Secretary, Health, said though the state government has capped the price of de-addiction drugs on its own in the state, the government is concerned about the neighbouring states on which they don’t have any control.

As per the last list, there were over 340 drugs, the prices of which was controlled by the NPPA.

The business of buprenorphine is so huge in the state that a total of six crore tablets are dispensed every year. The private de-addiction centres alone sell 4.5 crore tablets every year. And the government centres dispense 1.5 crore tablets. The government Outdoor Opioid Assistance Treatment clinics dispense the medicine free of cost.

However, private centres till recently were selling a strip of 10 tablets for around Rs 275. Some time back, the government capped the price to Rs 70 per strip. However, the de-addiction centres have found other ways to fleece patients like charging hefty counselling and consultation fees from them.

Now, the drug should be brought under price control and the MRP should be mentioned lesser. But the decision regarding this can only be taken by NPPS.

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