Forty-five-year-old Virendra Sharma’s father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) five years ago.
“I didn’t know then where to go, what to do. I saw my father dying helplessly despite all the treatment we could arrange. In the end, I lost my father and it cost me around Rs 30 lakh,” said Mr Sharma. Cancer treatment so expensive that it leaves families often destroys emotionally and financially.
Pharmaceutical organizations set costs as per their business objectives, with attention on removing the most extreme sum that a purchaser is happy to pay for a drug. WHO have recommended companies to provide transparency in R&D and commercial plan in order to identify the price of a particular drug. But companies argue in order to maintain the quality and quantity of drugs such prices are necessary. But the report suggests that the “cost of R&D has no direct connection with the price of medicine.”
Companies earn 15 times more revenue than the initial cost. India has 1.8 million cancer patients with the third highest number of cancer problem in women after USA and China. In January notification, Department of Pharmaceutical came out with a controversial decision to keep patented medicines out of price control for five years; a new report from the World Health Organisation has exposed the flaws in the decision.
“Exclusion of patented medicines is an unconstitutional and arbitrary decision that was taken without any public consultation that happens normally in the government,” Leena Menghaney, South Asia Head for MSF (Doctors without Border) Access Campaign. Soon, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP) formed this inter-ministerial committee of Joint Secretaries to “suggest ways and means to fix the prices of patented drugs in the country”.
“A scientific analysis based on the PPP index of different countries may enable setting a benchmark price for the medicines patented in India,” the committee said.
Regulation in medicine as well as in devices is very much necessary in India in order to keep healthcare affordable for all section of people. The recommendation came from all end is to put a ceiling price on life-saving medicines. The pharmaceutical industry is expected to expand at a CAGR of 22.4 per cent over 2015–20 to reach US$ 55 billion. India’s pharmaceutical exports stood at US$ 17.27 billion in FY18 and have reached US$ 10.80 billion in FY19 (up to October 2018).
The report demonstrates that the price of the drug has more to do with advertising and distribution than with research and cost of creation. India needs a framework to access independently look upon the drug pros and cons either it is patented or generic medicine.