Govt to cap prices of medical diagnostics, puts out draft list for public comments

The proposed list of essential diagnostic tests whose prices will be fixed later is available on the Indian Council for Medical Research website for comments till January 31, 2019

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New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has formulated a new list of essential diagnostics to enhance accessibility to diagnostic tests and reduce out-of-pocket expenditure. The draft National Essential Diagnostics List (NEDL) has been created after consultation with policymakers, clinicians, laboratories, functionaries in national health programmes, manufacturers and innovators.

It is important to note that in the absence of stringent regulatory process for diagnostics in the past, various substandard poor quality diagnostics made their way into the Indian market. The new development, as per ICMR, is to strengthen the existing policies to provide affordable yet quality healthcare to masses.

The draft list that is also available on ICMR website, is open for comments till January 31, 2019. The comments can be e-mailed to [email protected]

The Minister of State for Health, Ms Anupriya Patel recently mentioned in the Parliament that the move is aimed to attain universal healthcare and the list prescribes standard of requirement of minimum distance to a healthcare facility, equipments, skilled health workers, accessibility to diagnostic tests and also reducing out-of-pocket expenditure on this account, by promoting research and development for new, appropriate and effective diagnostics.

The finalised list will be reviewed by an expert group for updating and planing the implementation, on the lines of the National Essential Medicines List. Prices for these EDL may only be fixed after finalisation and approval of the list, Patel stated.

According to the Minister, once finalized and notified, it would help people access around 160 diagnostic tests at a uniform and affordable price.