Affordability of Drugs: 39 more Drugs under Price Control
India has extended price control on 39 more medicines used to treat diabetes, infections, digestive disorders and pain among others, in an effort to make them affordable.
Some of the medicines, which have been put under price control, include Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride, Cefotaxime, Paracetamol, Domperidone and Metformin + Glime. Already, 652 medicines are under price control.
Why should the price of Drugs be under control?
To ensure equitable distribution and availability of medicines at affordable prices, especially for the low income groups and the poor.
For instance, in a nation like India with such high prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVD), the move of the NationalPharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is of great significance – 30-40% reduction in the price of the expensive anti-cancer, anti-asthma, anti-tuberculosis and other such drugs, would be of great importance to the patients.
How does Price Control happen in India?
In respect of the price control of drugs, the Central government acts through the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), a body that was set up in 1997 especially for this purpose.
The central government publishes a National List of Essential Medicine (NLEM) from time to time, the latest one being in 2011 which is also included in the Drug (Pricing Control) Order, 2013 (DPCO). This list contains a list of 348 medicines, which ought to not be sold at the price beyond what is fixed by the central government.
Additionally, paragraph 19 of the DPCO provides that in extraordinary circumstances, and in public interest, the government can fix the prices of the “non-essential drugs” as well.
More aboutNational List of Essential Medicine (NLEM)
The NLEM caters to the primary healthcare needs of the country. Safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness are its core concerns. It ensures availability of medicines in adequate amount and appropriate dosage forms with assured quality at an affordable price.
It is one of the key instruments for balanced healthcare delivery system of a country.
The NLEM 2011 has 348 medicines from 27 therapeutic categories such as cardiovascular, anti-cancer, antineoplastic, immunological, anti-infective, ophthalmological preparations, diuretics, anti-allergic, etc. Medicines have also been categorised on the basis of essentiality at different levels of healthcare.
Connecting the Dots:
Is the Price control ineffective in improving the access to drugs?
Is this process sustainable in the long-run or is can it be counter-productive?
How much is the Indian government spending on Healthcare annually? Can the present expenditure made by the govt. create a affordable healthcare to all.
What do you think about the idea of ‘Universal Healthcare’ in India? Both pros and cons.
Inner Line Permits regulate the entry of non-domicile citizens into a restricted region. Those demanding it want to restrict and regulate the influx of outsiders and internal migrants “to save the culture, tradition, identity and demographic structure of the indigenous people of the state”.
Where did it all begin?
The Inner Line Permit regime, introduced by the British to protect tribal populations from encroachment into their areas, but later used to advance commercial interests involves a system akin to the issue of visas to Indian citizens to enter a State of the Union.
The first demand for restoration of the ILP in Manipur was made in Parliament in 1980, and on several occasions subsequently.
What are the Current Protests?
The current phase of protests is being spearheaded by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), an umbrella organisation of 30 civil bodies in Manipur, including all valley (that is, Meitei) student organisations.
The JCILPS has no political affiliation, and its volunteers are mostly students and student leaders.
It is primarily Meitei driven (Upper Class). Manipuri tribals have largely kept away from the agitation, which has been concentrated in the Imphal valley.
What is the Earlier Bill Passed with this regards?
The Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers’ Bill made it mandatory for non-Manipuri’s to register themselves with the government for reasons of “their safety and security and for the maintenance of public order” upon entering the state.
The Bill fulfilled a longstanding demand from powerful groups in the state, but failed to satisfy the hardliners.
Is the Issue Complex?
The demand, though, is more legitimately a consequence of the hill-valley divide in the State and the congestion in the valley rather than any huge influx of outsiders.
The situation is thus complex but not out-of-control.
But the State should ensure that alien-investor-driven development does not disrobe its people.
After all, they are supposed to benefit from the growth generated out of its own domestic resources.
IAS BABA’s View
The tribal people of Manipur have their reason to feel skeptical about the Inner Line Permit System movement.
The current struggle to protect local interests and its land is far removed from reality.
Failure to realise this can exclude tribal people further and can be counterproductive for Manipur.
Connecting the Dots:
Can the Union afford to introduce a quasi-visa to its citizens to enter one State from another State?
Why is there a wide range of opposition to Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenant and Migrant Workers’ Bill, 2015?
Government looks to simplify investment regime
Foreign direct and portfolio investments will be clubbed together with investments by non-resident Indians (NRIs) under a composite sectoral cap in a decision taken by the cabinet to simplify India’s investment regime and give companies greater leeway in choosing how they plan to raise capital.
Good News for Whom?
Good news for multi-brand retail, pharma.
Cabinet approved a proposal to scrap the distinctions among different types of overseas investment by shifting to a single composite limit.
What is the Significance of this Simplification?
The new policy also means portfolio investment up to 49 per cent will not need government approval or have to comply with sectoral conditions as long as it doesn’t result in transfer of ownership and/or control of Indian entities to foreigners.
This will immediately benefit sectors such as multi-brand retail and pharmaceuticals that do not have sub-limits within the overall limit and will henceforth not need approval for increasing portfolio investment up to 49 per cent of the total holding.
What is composite foreign investment caps?
The composite foreign investment caps will now encompass all types of foreign investments like foreign direct investment (FDI), foreign institutional investors (FIIs), foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), non-resident Indians (NRIs), foreign venture capital investors (FVCIs), qualified foreign investors (QFIs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and depository receipts (DRs).
Following this, Indian companies can now have just two kinds of capital i.e.; Indian and foreign,ending the categories that made the FDI policy complicated.
Connecting the dots
Do the composite caps have potential to speed up foreign exchange flows in India?
Write a note on
Foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs)
Qualified foreign investors (QFIs)
Limited liability partnerships (LLPs)
Net neutrality: DoT panel backs regulating Skype, WhatsApp calls
A telecom department panel (headed by headed by K. Bhargava) on net neutrality has recommended that local voice calls made using applications such as Skype and WhatsApp be regulated, favouring arguments made by the country’s telecom operators that sought a level playing field.
But those providing messaging and international calling services over the Internet be kept free from licensing requirements.
Net neutrality advocates criticized the move as protectionist and in violation of the idea of a free and open Internet.
For more information, please check ‘IASbaba’s Monthly Magazine’- APRIL 2015 . We have covered the entire issue regarding Net Neutrality comprehensively.