The parliamentary standing committee in its recent scathing report had also expressed strong objection to the practice of issuing licenses on brand names, reported The Times of India of today. The Union health ministry’s order in the wake of this to states to stop issuing licenses for the manufacture or sale of drugs on the basis of their brand name appears more like a reflex reaction without any strategic foresight.
While it is essential to achieve universal drug coverage for the entire population by making medicines affordable is banning the brand names a solution? The forty per cent spurt during the ten-year period of 1996-2006 of drugs – how does it compare with the overall inflation and the increases in the prices of essential commodities?
What is NPPA doing if the drug prices are escalating unreasonably? Are they not supposed to control and regulate the prices? If it is a governance issue, how can banning the brand names for drugs solve the problems of price increase. What about the prices of input costs? Are they steady or have been increasing over the years?
Furthermore, has the government, which is trying to put the reform process back on trail considered the implications and repercussions in the face of globalized world economic order of such a drastic move? Are the concerned departments in the governments aware that the Delhi High Court had quashed such a move to ban the brand name drugs in the early 1980’s?
Every which way you look at It, it looks more like a knee-jerk reaction!