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Times of India
24 September 2011
By, Sanjeev Shivadekar
Mumbai , India

In an attempt to make life–saving drugs easily available to citizens and curb exorbitant charges levied by hospitals on these imported medicines, the state government wants all such drugs to be covered under the national drug policy (NDP). If the Centre accedes to the state government’s request, then hospitals may not be able to charge exorbitant sums on the imported life–saving medicines.

“The drugs needed by hemophilia patients need to be imported. Also, in the case of thalassemia patients the iron chelator, which is used to remove the excess iron accumulated due to blood transfusion, is expensive,” said Suresh Shetty, public health minister. “To make this treatment affordable there is a need to have control on the prices of these drugs. Therefore, the health department will write a letter to the Centre to include these costly foreign and Indian–made medicines under the national drug policy,” he added.

“Many drugs are imported and there is no uniformity in rates, thus resulting in hospitals charging exorbitant sums,” Bhushan Gagrani, secretary, public health department said. Senior health department officials said once the expensive drugs are under the ambit of the NDP, the Food and Drug Administration will have to ensure that there is no over–pricing.

State Blood Bank Norms Tightened
T he public health department had decided not to allow standalone blood banks in the state. It has decided to make it mandatory to display the maximum retail price (MRP) on blood pouches. The blood banks will also have to put in place a grievance redressal system. “Existing standalone blood banks will have to comply with the norms or face the stern action,” Suresh Shetty, public health minister said.

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