This article appeared in Deccan Chronicle –

New Delhi: The government on Friday said there had been no increase in the prices of essential drugs in the last six months and assured that the Narendra Modi government is committed to reducing the prices.

Chemicals and fertiliser minister Ananth Kumar said in the Rajya Sabha that the prices of 44 drugs and 108 formulations have actually come down during last six months.

In the Lok Sabha too, health minister J.P. Nadda said that the government is making efforts to lower the prices of drugs and promote use of generic medicines as part of efforts to make them more affordable for the people.

In the Upper House, Mr Kumar refuted suggestions that price of some drugs used to treat tuberculosis, AIDS, diabetes and heart ailments were on the rise following decontrolling of these drugs.

He alleged that a Congress leader had indulged in false propaganda during election campaigns, a charge strongly refuted by the Congress members.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), he said, through a notification in July had capped the maximum retail price of 108 non-scheduled single ingredient drug formulations related to treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

“Out of 108 medicines, only two notifications were withdrawn because they were already covered as scheduled medicines.

A large number of manufacturers have already implemented the price reduction,” he said.

Responding to queries on the price of anti-cancer tablet Gilvec, he said, as per the price list in Form V of the DPCO, 2013, the medicine is sold at Rs 8,452.38 for 30 tablets, which is in conformity with the ceiling price notified for this drug formulation.

Mr Kumar said according to WHO Global TB Report, 2014, the estimated number of TB patients in India in the year 2013 was 2.6 million.