Tuesday, August 13, 2013

TImes of India - NPPA decision leads to acute drug shortage

MYSORE: City is facing acute shortage of several essential drugs and situation may worsen in the days to come. This is said to be the fall out of union government's constitution of National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority(NPPA) which has the sole powers to fix the price of a particular drug by taking it's production costs and its necessity for the people.

As per the new act enacted by the central government NPPA has re-fixed the prices of 378 essential drugs and directed the companies, wholesale dealers and retailers strictly adhere to the new pricing policy besides asking the companies to re-price all their products before supplying them to sellers.
But in the process NPPA has drastically cut the prices of all these 378 drugs in turn affecting the profit margins of wholesale and retail sellers. Some of the drugs prices have been reduced by more than half of the prices for which they were sold earlier .

Crux of the matter is retailers particularly pharmacies which used to sell these highly priced drugs at concessional rates to buyers and give cuts to doctors who prescribed the drugs are against the new pricing policy as they lose profits. " Now retailers and wholesale sellers cannot sell the drugs at more than the prices fixed by NPPA and new drug policy has left reduced profit margins of retail sellers" a pharmacist from city pointed out , suspecting retailers, doctors who used to get cuts and pharmacies owned by hospitals behind this artificial shortage of drugs .

As per the new act retailers who had old stocks of drugs should send them back to companies and get the drugs with new price tags . However the retail and wholesalers from city deny the allegation and claim that there is no shortage of drugs . Some companies are not sending the drugs returned back by retailers and this has caused shortage of couple of drugs, Akshay Arun a wholesaler from city said denying any acute shortage of drugs. " If a particular company drug is absent , same formulation drugs of other companies is available" he pointed out. Another retailer Lakmesh says why wholesalers or retail sellers should be worried when people themselves are getting drugs at cheaper rates. Even the district pharmaceuticals association president S Manjunath denied that there is any shortage of drugs . This rumor is being spread by retailers who have the stocks of newly priced drugs to sell the drugs , he suspected , disclosing several companies have sought more time to implement this new pricing policy .

On the other hand Deputy drugs controller B T Khanapure said he has spoken to the association and wholesalers to maintain drugs supply and not to hold the patients for ransom . " There is no need to panic we will ensure supply of drugs and strictly force retailers to sell the drugs at new prices" he added. KR Hospital Superintendent Dr B G Sagar said present stocks of essential drugs will suffice for at least 3 months . If patients start coming to them due to non-availability of stocks in market , then they have to re-asses stocks, he said.


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