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All essential medicines specified in the National List of Essential Medicines, 2011 (NLEM) are included in the First Schedule of DPCO, 2013 and are under price control. However, Life saving drugs are not defined in the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013.

Based on the available pharmaceutical database in terms of moving annual turnover (MAT) of scheduled and non-scheduled drugs, both with respect to volume and value, there is no general evidence to believe that essential/scheduled drugs or non-scheduled drugs are being sold at high price due to shortage/insufficient supply of the drugs in the country. In order to provide a consumer friendly mechanism to resolve such grievances, NPPA has started Pharma Jan Samadhan (PJS), which is an online system for receiving and taking action related to non-availability and overcharging with respect to pharmaceuticals.

There is a mechanism of monitoring the stock and availability of the essential drugs/scheduled drugs under para 21(1) DPCO, 2013 that provides for submission of quarterly return in respect of production/import and sales of scheduled medicines (NLEM medicines) and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients contained in scheduled formulations by the manufacturer/importer/marketer. Further, any manufacturer/importer wanting to discontinue manufacture/import of a scheduled formulation has to apply to NPPA at least 6 months in advance, and NPPA can direct applicant to continue production/import upto 1 year.

NPPA monitors shortages & non-availability of drugs on the basis of reports received from State Drugs Control Administration and also complaints, if any, received from individuals etc. On receipt of such reports, NPPA immediately takes up the matter with the concerned manufacturer and advice them to rush the stock in the affected area.

This information was given by Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers in the Lok Sabha today.

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