The government has fixed trade margins of over 40 costly cancer drugs following which prices have come down significantly, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, the minister also said India now has the capability to manufacture cancer treatment drugs, which are otherwise imported.
“We had to import cancer medicines but now India is capable of manufacturing it. We have introduced PLI scheme under which the manufacturing of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) required for making cancer medicines have also started in India,” Mandaviya said.
“Apart from that, as per requirement such medicines are imported but we have fixed the trade margins of 44 cancer medicines which are very costly,” he said.
The minister informed the House that the MRPs of these cancer medicines have been capped in such a manner that it cannot be more than 60 per cent of the first price that a manufacturer sells to a distributor in India.
“After fixing the trade margins, the price of cancer treatment medicines have come down significantly, which is benefiting cancer patients,” Mandaviya asserted.
He was responding to a question by DMK MP M Shanmugam on what steps have been taken by the government to reduce the prices of imported cancer drugs and medical devices like stents which poor people are unable to afford.
When asked by Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’ Brien what steps the government have taken on reports of about 175 healthcare organisations refusing to honour and clear bills of ex-servicemen under the Central Government Health Scheme, Mandaviya said the government will look into the matter.
The minister also assured that issues faced by senior retired journalists, whose bills have not been cleared under CGHS, will also be addressed.
Arguing the Centre has been working to expand the reach of CGHS, Mandaviya said the reach of CGHS centres are also being expanded to 81 cities from 25 cities earlier and every two months the package under the scheme is revised to meet the changing treatment protocol requirements.
To another question raised by Congress’ Anand Sharma over the withdrawal by major private hospitals from the CGHS panel, the minister said the government is aware of the situation and it has held discussions with the hospitals, which have given suggestions.
Based on the feedback the government will work to ensure the CHGS cardholders get the best medical treatment, he added.
In a written reply, the minister said during 2021-22 fiscal, claims of empanelled healthcare organisations amounting to Rs 1,330 crore were settled. Bills amounting to Rs 1343 crore are received from empanelled healthcare organisations for payment.
To a supplementary question by the BJP’s Y S Chowdary on whether the Government of India made any blueprint for giving sustainable healthcare from top to bottom, up to the village level, Mandaviya said steps have been taken under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre initiative.
He said 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres have been planned with each centre catering to a population of 5,000-6,000. Out of this, 1,02,000 centres are functional at present, he added.