Hiring of manpower is still under process in key states of Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (MP) for the Price Monitoring and Research Units (PMRUs) set up to track drug price violations despite funds allocation from the drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
Odisha, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have received funds to the tune of Rs 42.77 Lakh, Rs 33.80 Lakh, Rs 33.80 Lakh and Rs 33.80 Lakh respectively
Other smaller states like Goa have also received Rs 23.70 Lakh with Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Jharkhand, Haryana and Chhatishgarh having received Rs 29 Lakh each.
The PMRUs have been set up to monitor prices of medicines, detection of price violation and ensuring availability of medicines under the Central scheme Consumer Awareness, Publicity and Price Monitoring (CAPPM). The CAPPM scheme was approved by the Standing Finance Committee on October 29, 2015, and it was decided in 2016 to implement the scheme in phases.
NPPA has set up PMRUs in 19 States and Union Territories which includes Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tripura, Nagaland and Mizoram.
States like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have not set up the units as yet.
PMRUs have been tasked with collection and compilation of market based data and also to collect test samples of medicines. NPPA has plans to set up PMRUs in all the 36 States and Union Territories in the country. The expenses of PMRUs, both recurring and non-recurring, are borne by NPPA under the CAPPM scheme.
PMRU is a registered society under the chairmanship of the respective State Drug Controller (SDC). The representatives of NPPA, State health department, civil societies and other stakeholders are members of PMRU. The primary function of PMRUs is to assist NPPA in monitoring the prices of drugs, ensuring availability of drugs and raising consumer awareness.
The CAPPM scheme has two components – a national component that covers the expenditure for publicity through print and electronic media, organising seminars for consumer awareness and purchase of drug samples while a state component is planned to set up PMRUs in the States.
As per the scheme, 11 states are under the first category of 11 states with population of more than three per cent of the total population, second category consisting nine States with population less than three per cent, but more than one per cent of total population and third category of 16 States and Union Territories where the population is of less than one per cent of the total population. The modified scheme started implementation from the financial year 2018-19.
A total 21 states have given their consent for the formation of the PMRUs in the past three years. These were Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Tripura, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Nagaland, Goa, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
“PMRUs will be the key collaborating partners of NPPA, with information-gathering mechanisms at the grassroots level. PMRUs will also ensure that the benefits of DPCO percolate down to the grassroots level. The Central funding will be for an initial period of five years subject to a mid-term review,” as per a NPPA notification.
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