The National Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance on its own against the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) withdrawing a price-control order.
The commission has said the withdrawal could lead to an increase in prices of 108 cardiovascular and anti-diabetes drugs, and could thus amount to a violation or denial of the right to health to poor and marginalised citizens.
The human rights panel has issued notices to the secretary of the department of pharmaceuticals, Union ministry of chemical and the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) to submit reports within six weeks. Invoking a public interest claim, NPPA has withdrawn a set of guidelines issued in May 29, 2014, following which, it had reduced the prices of 108 medicines in the anti-diabetes and cardiovascular segments and promised to bring many more under price control.
The move followed a directive from the government.
Currently, 348 essential medicines are directly under price control.
According to the human rights commission, the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority has not present any "robust logic" for doing away with a policy that was aimed at making essential medicines accessible to people who would not be able to afford it otherwise.