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Medicines to Cost Less

New Delhi: In a major step towards making healthcare more affordable, over 880 medicines including common painkillers, cough syrups, drugs for diabetics//, hypertension as well as antibiotics would become cheaper.

The new pricing system covering 886 generic medicines will be enforced from Thursday with the government fixing the wholesale and retail margins.

Addressing a press conference, Minister of Chemicals and Fertiliser Ram Vilas Paswan said Tuesday that as against the 200 percent and more margin earlier charged by the wholesalers and retailers for various drugs, now the wholesalers would get 15 percent margin while retailers would get 35 percent over the manufacturing cost of non-branded and generic medicines.

The new pricing system - with the label bearing the maximum retail price inclusive of local taxes - had come into effect from Oct 2 but the government allowed one month's grace for replacing the stocks that retailers had with them.

"Medicines manufactured on or after Oct 2 may take four to six weeks to reach the retail counters," Paswan said.

He disclosed that the government was working out a formula for fixing the prices of branded medicines to make them more affordable while protecting the interests of companies pursuing research and drug development activities.

A new legislation - Drugs (Prices Regulation and Control) Act - has been proposed. It would have more effective control on prices, production, distribution and supply of medicines, he said.

The attempt to control prices of generic medicines and make them more affordable is the first in a series of attempts to bring healthcare within easy reach of poor people, Paswan said.

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