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Hike in prices of essential medicines

Why is it in the news?

  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), an independent regulatory agency under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, has recently increased the prices of essential medicines in India, which include painkillers, antibiotics, and anti-infectives.

More about the news

  • Essential medicines are those crucial for addressing the priority healthcare needs of the majority of the population. These medicines are identified based on the disease burden of the nation and their common usage across primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare levels.
  • The concept of Essential Medicines Lists (EML) originated in Tanzania in 1970, making it the first country to compile such a list.
  • In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare formulated the first National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) in 1996, which has since been periodically revised to reflect changing healthcare needs.
  • The Drug Price Control Order, 2013, issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, regulates the prices of medicines listed in NLEM by setting ceiling prices to ensure affordability and accessibility.

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