Govt panel for granting licence to any pharma co to cut drug prices

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Jan 2019 08:34:59


By Deepak Patel,


IN ORDER to cut prices of patented medicines for cancer and rare diseases, a high-level Government panel has made a series of far reaching recommendations including granting “compulsory licence” to any Indian pharma company to produce drugs without the consent of the patent holding firms.

The report, a copy of which is with PTI, also recommended putting a ceiling price on life-saving medicines after analysing the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of various countries, a standard followed in majority of the western world to fix medicine prices. Multinational pharmaceutical companies sell most of the patented drugs in India and they have been vehemently opposing any sort of price cap or grant of compulsory licensing to any other company to produce drugs being sold by them.

The Indian pharmaceutical market has an annual turnover of around Rs 2.3 lakh crore. While majority of these revenues come from sales of generic drugs, around 30 per cent of it comes from patented drugs. The committee noted that the prices of patented anti-cancer and antifungal drugs are “on the higher side” and cited the example of Rs 1 lakh being the price for just one injection for cancer treatment.
It said there is a need to moderate the prices of patented anti-diabetic drugs and also recommended that patent owning companies should be “encouraged” to give “voluntary licenses” to other pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, it has stated that the Government should explore procurement of more drugs at lower rates for public health care systems through negotiations with pharmaceutical companies.

“The committee after a detailed analysis has come to the conclusion that it is  important to put in place an effective mechanism to regulate the prices of patented medicines in India,” the committee’s report stated. Officials said the Government is examining the panel’s  report finalised around March last year. If a company develops an innovative drug, it is granted an intellectual property right for 20 years in the form of a patent. During these 20 years, the patent-owner company can prevent any other company from manufacturing the same medicine, according to existing norms.