Govt lists measures to increase availability of quality, affordable medicine

Speaking in the Parliament on the issue of availability of quality yet affordable medicine for common people, the minister of state for chemicals and fertilizers, Mr Mansukh L. Mandaviya shared the details of the steps taken that direction by the government

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New Delhi: While giving a written reply to a question on steps taken by the Government to ensure the quality of medicines made under generic names and its availability at affordable prices to common people, the Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr Mansukh L. Mandaviya has stated that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have taken various regulatory measures to ensure the quality of generic medicines in the country.

On ensuring drug quality

The Minister cited the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 that was amended under Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act 2008 to provide stringent penalties for manufacture of spurious and adulterated drugs. Certain offences have also been made cognizable and non-bailable.

“The States/UTs were requested to set up Special Courts for trial of offences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act for speedy disposal. So far, 22 States have already set up designated special courts,” Mr Mandaviya said adding that guidelines for taking action on samples of drugs declared spurious or not of standard quality in the light of enhanced penalties under the Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 2008 were forwarded to the State Drugs Controllers for uniform implementation.

On availability and affordability

Giving information on role played by generic medicines in reducing out of pocket expenses in healthcare for all, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, Mr Mandaviya stated that medicines, surgicals and consumables under Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) are providing 50-90% savings to all.

In order to make quality generic medicines available at affordable prices to all through specific outlets, ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ (PMBJP) was launched by Department of Pharmaceuticals, in the year 2008.

The minister further pointed out that as on 31st July 2018, the 3894 PMBJP Kendras are functional in 34 States/UTs of the country. “Government endeavors to cover all States, UTs, Districts, Tehsils, Blocks and Gram Panchayats of the country. In order to ensure good quality of medicines under PMBJP, medicines, surgicals and consumables are procured from more than 150 private drug manufacturers (WHO-GMP Compliant) and surgical suppliers, quite a few of which are procured from Central Pharma PSUs.”

Apart from procurement, each batch of drugs is tested at laboratories accredited by ‘National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories’ (NABL). Only after passing the quality tests, the medicines are dispatched to PMBJP Kendras, Mr Mandaviya informed.