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Telangana to monitor drug prices, quality

Hyderabad: In a boost to the State government’s efforts to ensure that quality drugs are made available at affordable cost, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) in collaboration with the local authorities are preparing ground to launch a Price Monitoring and Resource Unit (PMRU) in Hyderabad.

The PMRU will closely monitor prices of drugs and ensure their availability at affordable rates to the patients. For the past year, the NPPA, the Central regulatory body to control prices of drugs and ensure their availability, under its Consumer Awareness, Publicity and Price Monitoring (CAPPM), has already launched 12 PMRUs in different States.

In fact, in August, a PMRU was set-up in Karnataka and already the process to launch a similar body in Hyderabad is under way. The NPPA is coordinating with Telangana State Drug Control Administration (TSDCA) to establish the PMRU in the State. The DCA officials in the State said that in the coming weeks, the entire modality to launch the PMRU will be finalised.

Based on the NPPA guidelines, the PMRUs will function at the State-level under the direct supervision of the State Drug Controller for increasing the outreach of the NPPA. Similar bodies have been set-up in other States including Kerala, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, UP, Punjab etc.

The PMRUs are expected to strengthen drug security and affordability at regional levels, a much-needed institution for the general public at a time when there are a lot of complaints related to overcharging on the part of private hospitals.

The primary function of PMRUs is to assist NPPA in monitoring prices of drugs, ensuring availability of drugs and raising consumer awareness. They act as collaborating partners of NPPA with information gathering mechanisms at the grass-roots level and render necessary technical assistance to both the NPPA and the respective State Drug Controllers of States/Union Territories.

The PMRU is also expected to be actively involved in monitoring of notified prices of medicines, detection of violations of the provisions of the DPCO (Drug Prices Control Order), compliance and ensuring availability of life saving drugs to patients. Along with TSDCA, the PMRU will also be involved in monitoring the price movement of scheduled and non-scheduled formulations based on periodical returns filed by the industry, senior health officials here said.

The price monitoring body will also be involved in spreading awareness among the general public on medicines. The recurring and non-recurring expenses for the functioning of the PMRU will be borne by the NPPA.

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