Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain today pitched to the Centre that the margin of profit earned on the maximum retail price of any medicine or equipment should be fixed at not more than 50 per cent of its cost. Addressing a workshop organised by the Drugs Control Department, Jain said the Delhi government is "soon going to pass an order" making it mandatory for all government hospitals and doctors therein to prescribe drugs only from National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) to patients. The day-long workshop on 'Accessibility, Affordability and Availability of Pharmaceutical Products' was held in association with National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) at the FICCI House here. Jain said the AAP government had been, through Mohalla Clinics and other measures, trying to make healthcare more accessible to people, keeping in mind the poor and the needy. "So, the question comes as to how will we ensure affordability.
I would like to urge the Centre to fix the margin of profit earned on the maximum retail price of any medicine, any equipment or any consumable, to not more than the 50 per cent (of the cost)," he said. "For instance, a medicine that costs Rs 10 should not have MRP of more than Rs 15," the minister said, the Centre should issue an order in this regard. Later in a statement released by the Delhi government, Jain was quoted as saying, "It is observed that sometimes it is exorbitantly charged, from 900 to 2,000 per cent profit on the sale of medicines." On Lt Governor Anil Baijal asking the government to retain some "income ceiling" on some of its heath schemes, the minister said, there are needy people and those who may fall above the ceiling too are tax-payers, and they should not be restricted from availing the service. Last year, Baijal had advised the government to keep an "income ceiling" on some of its schemes so that the resources of the government are used to help the poor and the needy, and the "poor are not crowded out by the well-to-do". Jain said, "We cannot differentiate between the poor and rich while providing medicines to them for their wellness." He also said the Delhi government has provided facility of 212 types of diagnostic tests in Mohalla Clinics, adding, people should come forward and raise their voice against corruption. Joint Secretary (Policy) in the Centre's Department of Pharmaceuticals, Sudhansh Pant said there was a need for opening more generic medicines store, to avail drugs at nominal and affordable prices. In 2016, there were 270 generic medicines stores in the country, now the number has been increased to 3,000. Thirty- eight generic stores are available in the national capital, he was quoted as saying in the statement. Delhi Health Secretary Rajeev Yaduvanshi said the city government is committed to making available all types of medicines and drugs to people at affordable prices.
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