Unfair marked MRP of medicines results in neglection of health care - watsupptoday.com
Unfair marked MRP of medicines results in neglection of health care
Posted 08 Feb 2017 01:00 PM

Kashmir Doctors Association too has recently expressed concern for marking drugs sold under brand names with unfair MRP in many cases and demanded that prescriptions should be written by chemical name / generic name ( where ever possible) . In India it is also due to cost of medicines that a large population is forced by circumstances to neglect health care. Hence in many cases minor ailments become serious ailments. It is not out of place to mention here that high cost prescriptions are not only due to expensive basic chemicals but it is more due to unfair pricing of the drugs by the manufacturers, unfair marketing policies and many of the prescription writers siding with unfair trade practices. Many may not believe that some where medicines sold & prescribed under a brand name are marked with an MRP of 500% to 600 % ( even more ) of the price that could still give reasonable (20to 30 %) margin of profit to the trade. Government of India had launched Jan Aushadi store programme in 2008 and professed that doctors should prescribe medicines by chemical name / generic name as far possible to crush the spine of unfair ‘pricing' and prescription writing. The prgramme has so far not taken off in even 2017. No doubt the present J&K Health Minister too has shown concern for prescription writing by chemical name /generic name of the basic technical grade material and so far orders limiting it to only drugs available in government stores have been issued. Action of the Minister must be appreciated but the Health Minister needs to note that in case he has desires to relieve the "SICK" of unfair prescription burden he will have to put his foot down for opening Jan Aushadi Store (Kendra) atleast in/ near every Government Hospital / Dispensary and direct atleast all the Government doctors to write prescription by Chemical name / generic name. And in case it is not done, the Jan Aushadi Kendra programme will remain only on paper. The private shop owners , NGOs/ Cooperatives societies / individuals too can go for keeping Jan Aushadi programme medicines and those in trade will have no justification in opposing atleast the fair / genuine priced medicine sale. As on date lakhs of families are being fleeced by unfair pricing and prescription writing. For a first hand idea prices of some drugs that can be supplied under Jan Aushadi Store programme 2008 ( now renamed as Prime Minister Jan Aushadi Kendra programme) and the price of same technical grade material sold under a typical ‘brand' name are being given here under. How serious is the issue could be well seen from the price difference. The civil society too will have to impress upon the government for taking remedial measures and also defeat those elements who have been all these years defeating the Public welfare schemes simply for drawing undue economic benefits. Even public men can visit and request the doctors to either write by chemical name or prescribe medicines of same salt marked with lower MRP ( even amongst the brands the price difference is huge in some cases ( Rs 12.25/ 14 tab and Rs.34 / 10 Tab ). The falling level of commitment of the health infrastructure in the public sector ( government institutions / hospitals) too is compelling even the economically weaker patients to buy the services from the private sector. Ofcourse there are some politicians , bureaucrats and doctors who remain concerned for improving the level of public services atleast from the government sector but it appears that their efforts and desires are being defeated by those who do not hold to basic administrative & professional ethics. Had it not been so the Jan Aushadi Store programme initiated by Ram Vilas Paswan the then Union Petroleum and Chemical Minister in 2008 ( now renamed as Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadi Kendra ) to fight out the unfair drug trade practices ( particularly allopathic drugs) would not have been so mercilessly defeated by the other side. The study got conducted by Ministry in in 2008 had revealed that drug trade was infested with huge unfairness to the disadvantage of the patients. To be brief attention is drawn here to Rajay Sabha S.Q No: 244: Price control of drugs as was answered on 30032012 by then MOS Chemicals and Fertilizer Sri Kant Jena who disclosed that by then only 117 Jan Aushadi stores had been opened in the country and his Ministry had sent a proposal to Planning Commission (PC) for opening one such store in 626 Districts of India. It was further informed that so far only 74 bulk drugs under price control. It was so disappointing to note than Ministry of Chemical had sent proposal for expansion of programme to PC where as the programme should have been taken in hand by the Health Ministry. The essential drugs ( as per general understanding the drugs that are listed in the category of essential drugs - including the policy of WHO -are those that are not under the patent rights of any one and moreover ,more than 95 % of the disease and patient needs could be met by these drugs ) are notified by Ministry of Health and Ministry had notified National List of Essential drugs (348 ) in October 2011 ( three years after Jan Aushadi Programme was launched ).What was the government doing since 2008 is not understood when even as per government data the patients were being charged atleast 5 times the legitimate prices for the drugs that did not come under the patent rights of any manufacturer. The question still unanswered in 2017 is that why did not the ministry immediately bring all the essential drugs in the ED list under price control ? J&K Health Minister is said to have planned to get opened atleast one shop in each government hospital for selling medicines at genuine / fair prices. Some protests are being made by the private medical shop owners alleging that (i) the permission has been granted only to one particular party and it will also affect the sales of shops out side (ii) the party concerned (who is already running a few stores in hospitals ) is selling branded drugs where as the party has been given permission to sell only Jan Aushadi Store program drugs labelled with chemical / generic name (iii) the party who has been given permission / contract is a non-state subject and under Art 370 non state subjects cannot run shops in J&K (?). As far as the common man is concerned his / her interest lies only in getting medicines at fair / discounted prices, it does not matter who sells that. Any how government has to see that the contracts / permissions are granted following open bidding / competition where ever needed and as permitted by laws of land. The allegations made / questions raised are no doubt serious. No any public notification / statement has yet been issued by government in this regard and government must make the facts public. No doubt the present J&K Health Minister too has shown concern for prescription writing by generic name and so far orders limiting it to only drugs available in government stores have been issued.. And in case it is not done, the Jan Aushadi Kendra programme will remain only on paper. The private shop owners , NGOs/ Cooperatives societies / individuals too can go for keeping Jan Aushadi programme medicines and those in trade will have no justification in opposing atleast the fair / genuine priced medicine sale. Lakhs of families are being fleeced by unfair pricing and prescription writing. For a first hand idea prices of some drugs that can be supplied under Jan Aushadi Store programme 2008 ( now renamed as Prime Minister Jan Aushadi Kendra programme) and the price of same technical grade material sold under a typical brand name are being given here under. How serious is the issue could be well seen from the price difference.

The civil society will have to impress upon the government for taking remedial measures and also defeat those elements who have been all these years defeating the Public welfare schemes simply for drawing undue economic benefits. Even public men can visit and request the doctors to either write by chemical name or prescribe medicines of same salt marked with lower MRP ( even amongst the brands the price difference is huge ( Rs 12.25/ 14 tab and Rs.34 / 10 Tab ).

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