Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) are issued under Essential Commodities Act (ECA). Government of India is the issuer of such orders. The drug price control orders enable the government to declare a ceiling price for essential and life saving medicines (as per a prescribed formula). In January 2019, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers issued Drugs (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019 to strike the right balance between consumer and producer interests.
This article will provide relevant facts about Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) for IAS Exam preparation. The topic comes under UPSC Mains GS-II, “Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.”
To know about the other important Government Schemes in India, visit the linked article.
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What is Drug Price Control Order, 2013?
The Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers had announced the Drugs Price Control Act, 2013 to improvise the availability of basic medicines at affordable prices across the country.
The order has been issued by the Government of India for the regulation of drug pricing in the country under Section 3 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) will be responsible for the implementation of DPCO 2013.
It was introduced in May 2013 and had affected the pricing of over 300 essential medicines based on their manufacturing cost. As per the DPCO 2013, all dosages mentioned in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) will be under price control.
Why does Drug Price Control Order came into effect?
There are a few reasons to note down to understand the applicability of Drug Price Control Order:
- The action of a few pharma companies to increase the prices of their products to get maximum benefit affected the daily user.
- The affordability of these medicines was hampered as common man found it difficult to cope with the soaring prices
Government of India, to stop this activity, brought to surface, Drug Price Control Order that defines the prices of the essential drugs and keep them in control so that they can be accessed by the public.
|Bulk Drug Park||Orphan Drugs|
|Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs)||Diclofenac – Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug|
|United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)||International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking|
What is an Essential Medicine?
A list of those medicines that are necessary for the health care needs of the population. The concept of essential medicines was introduced by WHO in 1977. The below points are given importance to, to denote a medicine as an essential medicine:
- Public health relevance
- Evidence on efficacy and safety, and
- Comparative cost-effectiveness
Also, read Fighting Drug Menace: RSTV – The Big Picture
Features of Essential Medicines:
- Essential Medicines should be available at all times (within the context of functioning health systems) in adequate amounts
- Essential Medicines should be available at all times in the appropriate dosage forms
- These medicines should be available at all times with assured quality and adequate information
- These medicines are introduced for a fact that prices of these medicines are affordable for an individual and the community
Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) highlights the need of efforts to rationalize the use of essential medicines. Some of the steps that government can take are:
- Clinical Guidelines imposition on the pharmaceuticals (DPCO is one such example)
- Promotion of drugs committees in districts and hospitals
- There should be proper supervision, audit and feedback
- Enhancement of public education about medicines
- Government should spend sufficiently to ensure availability of medicines and staff
UPSC aspirants can also know more about Drug Abuse in India at the linked article.
Introduction to Drugs (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019 for UPSC
The facts about DPCO (Amendment) 2019 are mentioned in the table below:
|Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) Amendments 2019 – Facts for IAS Exam|
|Introduced by?||Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers|
|Key Points about DPCO amendments?||
Aspirants can read the below linked articles related to healthcare:
|National Rural Health Mission||National Urban Health Mission|
|National Health Mission||Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)|
Frequently Asked Questions on Drug Price Control Order 2013
Q 1. What is the Drug Price Control Order?
Q 2. What is the role of NPPA in DPCO?
Q 3. What is the significance of Drug Price Control Oder 2013?
Q 4. Who regulated drug pricing in India?
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