Decontrol Decision Sends Essential Drug Prices Through The Roof
New Delhi, October 1: Union government’s decontrol decision has started making holes in the pockets of chronic patients. The list of recently 108 decontrolled drugs includes that of diabetes, AIDS, coronary artery disease and TB.
It is insinuated that it was done at the behest of MNC Pharma lobby. It has also raised the hackles of health activists because the circular to decontrol was issued on the eve of PM Modi’s departure for USA. The drugs decontrolled and left at the mercy of market mostly relate to life style diseases.
It is estimated that the decision will impact over 4 crore diabetics, 4.7 crore heart patients, 22 lakh TB patients, 11 lakh cancer and 25 lakh HIV/AIDS patients in the country. The price of cancer drug Glivec has risen from Rs 8,500 to Rs 1.08 lakh. Plavix, drug for treating blood pressure and heart ailments, will cost Rs 1,615 in place of earlier Rs 147.
Out of pocket expenditure on treatment is a potent cause of pushing Indian population below poverty line and expenditure on drugs accounts for 70 percent of it. So, the decision is sure to create a furor as patients start feeling the pinch of escalated cost of drugs, though government sources call the fear ill founded. They say the government will move to contain price spiral.