The prices of medicines will soon bend in the service to the government’s ‘ease of doing business’ and ‘Make in India’ programmes, if the proposals in the Draft Pharmaceutical Policy, 2017 are accepted. The Draft Policy, which BusinessLine has seen, calls for ‘re-orientation’ of the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) from “price-control to monitoring of drug prices”. The Draft, which focuses heavily on prices of medicine, has proposed massive dilutions in the existing framework, which would give more control to the government over the operations of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which till now functions as an autonomous body.
It also attempts to strip the NPPA of some powers, for instance, once the price for a drug is fixed the pricing authority would not be allowed to revise them. The NPPA would also lose its power to cap the prices of in-patent medicines, and would be able to use its “emergency powers” only on the government’s orders. “This Policy would significantly contribute to the Ease of Doing Business in the pharmaceutical sector… The ‘Make-in-India’ programme would also get an impetus by the actions,” the draft policy says.