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The government will bring in major changes in the Drug Pricing Control Order (DPCO) and come out with a new pharma policy to implement "Namocare" across the country, Union Minister Ananth Kumar said on Thursday. Addressing the inaugural session of the India Pharma and Medical Device conclave here, the chemicals and fertilisers minister also reiterated the need for a separate Ministry for Pharma and Medical Devices. "We will have major reforms in DPCO, that I am going to assure. We need to have reforms in DPCO.
We need to come out with a new pharma policy," Kumar said. To implement new pharma policy if there is no new DPCO, "I don't think how can we implement Namocare of such gigantic proportions," he added. Kumar also said the country needs a separate ministry of Pharma and Medical Devices. "I have been pursuing this. My ministry is pursuing this with the Prime Minister." The country needs a holistic and integrated ministry to create holistic strategy to put in mega Namocare to service 100 million families, he added. Under the DPCO 2013, NPPA fixes ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I based on simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1 per cent of the category. In respect of medicines not under price control, manufacturers are allowed to increase the maximum retail price by 10% annually. Announced in the Budget, the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) or Namocare is aimed at benefiting 100 million poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary healthcare.