NPPA caps Covid life-saving drugs

Deccan Chronicle.

Nation, Current Affairs

The medicines used for Covid 19 management have been added in the National List of Essential Medicines to make it affordable to people

Devices like pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitoring machines, nebulizers, digital thermometers and glucometers from China and Korea have flooded the market. — PTI

Hyderabad: Ceiling prices have been set for remdesivir injections, amphotericin, dexamethasone and oxygen concentrators by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority but the implementation is the key for it to benefit the people. 

The medicines used for Covid 19 management have been added in the National List of Essential Medicines to make it affordable to people. There are five enforcement officers for the state to implement the order of the NPPA.

Will it ensure that it black marketing of these commodities stops?  No, stated a senior drug control officer in the state on condition of anonymity. "When demand exceeds supply, the enforcement authorities ensure that the organised channels registered with the government are adhering to the order. When it moves into the black market, it needs law and order intervention." 

But drug controllers have to raise awareness among the people about the controlled price by display in chemists stores, wholesalers and also price tag of the manufacturers. 

Dr Sanjay Reddy, senior pharmacologist with the state government committee, said, "Devices like pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitoring machines, nebulizers, digital thermometers and glucometers from China and Korea have flooded the market. There are some oxygen concentrators which do not have instruction manuals. This wide variety will require proper enforcement to make the prices reasonable. People have to be educated. Hospitals too must display the new price orders."

Awareness of the new price list will help in its effective implementation. Presently, oxygen concentrators are priced from Rs 29,000 to Rs 1 lakh per piece in the market. During the peak of the second wave the starting price of sale was Rs 75,000 onwards. The government has capped the trade margin of oxygen concentrators by 70 per cent. 

A senior drug control inspector explained, "The challenge in capped prices is to track the manufacturers who sell the products with a different label. These discrepancies are seen in the market."

The price of remedisver injection has been capped at Rs 3,500. The production of amphotericin has been scaled and its margin is reduced by 13.65 per cent for the traders. 

Suman Gupta of Telangana Chemists Association says, "These drugs are of use only during the Covid wave and after that there is hardly any demand for it. The reduction in margins will have only a few traders stock it." 

But the order will help in bringing in some control in the market during Covid 19 waves which is essential. 

Dr K. Ramadas, president of Telangana Pharmacy Colleges Management Association says, "The step taken by NPPA is good as it will help common man who can question during the time of treatment. Essential pricing is important for Covid 19 as people have been paying large amounts for medicines." 

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