The routine instances of fleecing and overcharging by pharmacists in India may soon see an end as the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is going to launch a mobile app that will give details of the prices of various essential drugs.
The app, called Search Medicine Price, would enable on-the-go checking of prices of life-saving medicines for buyers.
The app, developed for mobile phones by the National Informatics Centre, would be launched by Anant Kumar, the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, on Aug, 29, according to the Economic Times.
The app is being made available for both iPhone and android users. It will provide information about the ceiling prices of medicines (included in the National List of Essential medicines, NLEM, 2015) in any particular state. Buyers can enter the number of units (in terms of grams or millilitres) of medicines sold in one pack to see the maximum retail price, including the taxes.
The NPPA has since March, 2016 issued a series of notifications to curb the rising prices of drugs. More than 800 drugs, including those used in the treatment for diabetes, cancer, hypertension and HIV, have been brought under price control.
Some major drug firms have criticised the frequent cost cutting of medicines by the NPPA, saying that the government should not place the entire burden of healthcare on the pharmaceuticals industry.
Two Indian pharmaceutical companies, Mumbai-based Wockhardt and Bengaluru-based Alembic, have challenged the recent decision on drug price fixing and revision by NPPA in the Delhi High Court. However, the government seems to be in no mood to hold back from bringing drugs under price control mechanisms.
"The drug pricing body seeks to hold drug companies and medicine retail outlets more accountable to patients through its new app. Retailers and manufacturers will come to know that they cannot take consumers for granted," Bhupendra Singh, the NPPA Chairman, told ET.