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New Drug Policy may see 3 lakh pharma reps losing jobs: Assocham

New Drug Policy may see 3 lakh pharma reps losing jobs: Assocham
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First Published: Wed, Apr 30 2008. 03 55 PM IST
New Delhi: Opposing extension in Drugs Control Price beyond 74 different medicines, industry chamber Assocham has warned the government of its adverse impact, saying that a livelihood of three lakh pharma representatives and plant workers could be in jeopardy if the proposed extension is incorporated in the new Drugs Policy.
In a representation sent to the secretary, Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, the chamber has sought early declaration of the New Drug Policy which can ensure availability of good price medicine at reasonable prices and improve accessibility of essential medicines for common man.
Key Findings
* Bringing larger number of drugs under price control will delay and reduce access to medicines
* It would curtail R&D investments and employment leading to negative mpact on economy as that would reduce FDI’s in pharma sector; it will jeopardize jobs of lakhs of pharma reps and plant workers; drug manufacturers would not be able to sell their products at competitive rates in the market, further curtaiingl manpower requirements
* Other implications of extension of drugs price control would be that Indian pharma sector in the longer run will be unable to invest; they would lag behind in reaching a larger doctor base in tier II towns and villages leading to higher sale of spurious and low quality drugs
* Investments in new plants and facilities will slow down with taking drug price control beyond 74 medicines as local R&D investments reduce; Indian Inc. will be unable to develop better medicines for sub-continent based diseases and needs, since new drugs will be high priced ones
* Introduction of new drugs will get delayed as MNCs will not be interested in the Indian market provided the new Drug Policy ensures lesser price control on sale of drugs and pharma products
*Extension in drug price control is being mooted at a time when the world has moved away from cost plus price control and most of developing countries are following a more holistic set of measures to control healthcare costs
Recommendations
* Status quo on current 74 bulk drugs be maintained as per price control is concerned and Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers should ensure that patients get full benefits from generic products by regulating trade margins of these products through a government notification.
* Adequate differentiated incentive for R&D to be provided by the government as per recommendations made by the Mashelkar Committee.
* Since pharma industry is poised to become a global player and could be a global leader, it should be removed from the current regulatory clutches of the government
* Medicines currently contribute only 15% of total healthcare spending for the average patients and medicine spends is 1/5th of total healthcare expenditure. Even within this, about 35% goes towards taxes and trade margins. Excessive control would lead to spurious drugs multiplying their presence in every nook and corner and therefore, the early the drug controls are removed, the better would it be for India
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First Published: Wed, Apr 30 2008. 03 55 PM IST