22 March 2011
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority okays five to 18 per cent increase in price of indigenously manufactured insulin–based formulations
The main patrons of these drugs are the less privileged sections of society who cannot afford foreign drugs. City doctors feel that this increase will have a great effect on patients who are already forced to decide between insulin and food.
Dr Satyanarayan Srikanta, medicaldirector of Samartvan Jnana Sanjeevini Diabetes Centre, said, "The price of a 10 ml vial, which now retails for Rs 150, will increase to Rs 177. I term this price rise as an ‘Insulin Misery Scam. Even Bangladesh gives insulin free of cost to poor people, but in a country like India where lakhs of children die due to diabetes, the price is increasing. Its a major burden on poor patients.
Many try to reduce the dose or skip the medicine for a day or two as they cannot afford the expense. Instead of increasing the price, the government should open 10 new insulin manufacturing units."
Anita Bhattacharya, a housewife and resident of Indiranagar, has been a diabetic for 15 years. The 60–year–old has been using insulin for the past three years. She said, "I cannot be without insulin for even a day. Right now, I spend around Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,600 every month on insulin alone."
Dr Arpan Bhattacharya, consultant endocrinologist in Manipal Hospital, said, "In India, a major chunk of the population is poor and cannot afford Rs 1,000 every month for medicines. For such people, the indigenouslymade insulin is the only hope."
India has over five crore diabetes patients. Doctors pointed out that many patients are retired professionals who are surviving on their pensions.