In a move that could potentially result in higher prices of many essential drugs, the Indian government is considering a review of its current drug price control policy to encourage private investments in the sector, Economic Times reported.
According to the ET report that cited a senior government official, Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant has asked India's health ministry to scrap all regulatory hurdles for pharma companies. Niti Aayog sees the drug control regime as hindering investments in the sector, it added.
The policy changing move, which is seeking to dilute the authority of the current drug price setting authorities, has backing from the Prime Minister's Office, according to the report.
The senior official told ET, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, a key agency that regulates essential drugs, should not alone decide the list of essential drugs, and National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the agency responsible for setting the price of drugs, should not decide prices of all the essential drugs.
The government is also looking to relax licensing conditions for drug research, as well as making the process of drug approvals process easier.
India has had a long history of making its essential drugs affordable for its large population and has often sidestepped patents on certain major drugs. The country's regulators have been under increasing pressure from pharmaceutical companies to recognise patents that allow them to maximise profits.