· The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the prices of 31 more drugs. With these 31 drugs, the NPPA has brought 791 medicines under price control.
What is an Essential Medicine?
· According to World Health Organization (WHO), Essential medicines are the medicines that "satisfy the priority health care needs of the population". People should have access to these medicines at all times in sufficient amounts. The prices should be at generally affordable levels.
What is National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)?
· NLEM is a list of medicines prepared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare based on essentiality and made part of the Drugs Price Control Orders (DPCO), 2013 (DPCO 2013) in the form of first Schedule of the DPCO 2013.
· NLEM is the basis for the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), to revise the list of medicines that should come under government price control
· The first National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) of India was prepared and released in 1996. This list was subsequently revised in 2003, 2011 and 2015.
What is Drugs Price Control Orders (DPCO), 2013 (DPCO 2013)?
· DPCO 2013 is an order issued by the Central Government having power under section 3 of the Essential Commodity Act, 1955 which enables it to fix the prices of essential bulk drugs and their formulations mentioned under the NLEM.
· The formulations which are included in NLEM i.e. first Schedule of the DPCO 2013 are known as Scheduled Formulations.
· Any person acting in contravention of the DPCO 2013 is punishable under section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
· Established in: 1997.
· Type of body: It has been set up as per executive order and thus not a statutory body.
· Objectives: It is a government regulatory agency which performs the following functions
o Controlling the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India;
o Enforce the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013; and
o Advising the Government of India in matters of drug policies and pricing.
· Parent agency: Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.