New drug policy in offing, Centre assures SC

New Delhi: The Centre today told the Supreme Court that a new National Drug Policy would be in place shortly comprising 438 essential medicines which are priced within the common man`s reach. Senior counsel Ashok Bhan told a bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhyaya that a group of ministers (GoM) seized of the matter is expected to give a formal approval to the policy when it meets on April 25.

The court accordingly adjourned the matter. The Centre`s response comes in the backdrop of a PIL filed by an NGO alleging that prices of several essential drugs for life threatening disease had gone beyond the reach of the common man. It was submitted that after 1995 no new policy had been formulated and presently only 74 drugs are listed as essential drugs.

The PIL had alleged that successive government had refrained from including several new drugs owing to pressures from the powerful drug cartel and top pharmaceutical companies.