Uniformity of pricing still an issue that is left unaddressed
New Delhi, June1, 2017: In a bid to question the decision that urges doctors to prescribe generic and cheaper drugs, the IMA has called for a ‘One drug – One company – One price’ policy. This call comes as part of the month-long intensive campaign being undertaken by the Association as a clarion call against the issues faced by the medical fraternity today. The campaign will lead up to the Dilli Chalo movement to be organized on 6th June 2017.
Uniformity in pricing of medicines in India still remains a distant dream. The same company selling the same drug under different brand names and at different prices is even more inexplicable. Concerns have already been raised about the fact that a poor country like India has a weak drug price control mechanism.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “The government allows the same salt to be sold by the same company at three difference prices as generic-generic, generic-trade or generic-branch. There is a need to adopt a ‘one drug – one company – one price’ policy. It is not reasonable for the government to grant a license to companies to sell drugs at different rates and then force doctors to choose only the cheaper drugs. It’s like giving licenses to open five star hotels, but simultaneously issuing an advisory to the public to not to go these hotels.”
The IMA feels that medicines cannot be up for free pricing and the decision to buy them is not determined by the consumer, but by doctors and at times the chemists.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal said, “The need to buy medicines is immediate and involuntary, unlike other items. It is not fair for companies to increase prices to further increase their profit margins while putting the health of many people at stake. Therefore, it is important for the government to have a control over the pricing of drugs.”
The Dilli Chalo march will be joined by over a lakh doctors in the country, both digitally and physically, and followed by deliberations on issues ailing the medical profession, one of them being the drug pricing policy. The IMA is also initiating a signature campaign on the issues at hand on social media and has urged all doctors to join and collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to demand justice from the government.