April 21, 2015 / 3:07 PM / 4 years ago

Parliamentary committee recommends price caps for all drugs

People walk past a chemist shop at a market in Mumbai June 24, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A parliamentary committee has recommended that price caps should be extended to all drugs in the country and that the government should expedite the capping process.

The law allows the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) regulator to fix prices of drugs on a list of essential medicines, thereby keeping prices in check in a country where a majority of people live on less than $2 a day and health insurance is scarce.

But the standing committee on chemicals and fertilisers, a panel of 31 lawmakers, noted in a report tabled in parliament that all medicines should be available in the market at an affordable price.

“The committee recommend that the scope of price control needs to be enlarged to make all the drugs available, especially life saving drugs in all parts of the country,” the committee’s report said.

Reuters reported this month that all the drugs on the government’s HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis control programmes are likely to be added to the list of drugs subject to price caps.

The wide-ranging price cuts have hit both local and foreign drugmakers in India and have been opposed by many in the industry, who have said drug prices in the country are already among the lowest in the world.

Reporting by Aman Shah in Mumbai; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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