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NHRC issues notice to NPPA against arbitrary hike in prices of 108 drugs
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report alleging that withdrawal of an order by the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) may lead to arbitrary hike in the prices of 108 cardiovascular and anti-diabetes drugs.
The Commission has observed that such a decision may amount to violation/denial of right to health to poor and marginalized citizens of the country. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Union Ministry of Commerce and Fertilizers and the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority to submit reports in the matter within six weeks.

Reportedly, the NPPA withdrew its 29th May, 2014 guidelines on 22nd September, 2014 which were meant for putting a cap on the prices of 108 cardiovascular and anti-diabetes drugs to insulate them from arbitrary hikes through market mechanisms.

The decision to do so followed an order dated 19th September, 2014 of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP). This does not present any robust logic for doing away with a policy that was aimed at easing access of common man to medicines.

While issuing the notices, the Commission has also observed that the availability of essential drugs at reasonable prices is extremely important for fullest enjoyment of right to health by the citizens of the country, especially the poor and the marginalized.

Withdrawal of the guidelines dated 29th May, 2014 is likely to impinge upon the access of common man to health and medicare.

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