Agencies, Saturday, February 11, 2006 22:41 IST
NEW DELHI: Come April 1 and all medicines manufactured and sold in India will have to carry the maximum retail price (MRP) inclusive of all taxes. "At the request of the industry, we have given time till August 15 to complete the process of publishing the MRP inclusive of tax on the label of the medicines. It will come into effect from April 1," chemicals minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters after the first meeting of the Pharmaceutical Advisory Forum here.
During the meeting, which brought together all pharmaceutical stakeholders, including manufacturers and retailers, the minister received support for the proposal that the industry would voluntarily bring this rule into operation till the Packaged Commodities Rule is amended. The government hopes to do this by August 15. The Food And Consumer Department of the agriculture ministry had mooted the proposal.
Paswan said the government had also received support for its proposal to bilingually label all medicines in Hindi and English. This will include the name of the medicine, the price, and the manufacturing and expiry dates. Although this is slated to roll out from April 1 too, companies have been given time till October 2 to complete the process.
There is also a move to include a more user-friendly patient information slip along with packaged medicines so that patients know how to take the medicine, Satwant Reddy, secretary (pharmaceuticals) in the chemicals ministry, said after the meeting.
About the government’s proposal to provide free medicines to people living below the poverty line, Paswan said the industry had urged that part of the excise duty collected should be used for this purpose.
It is being forwarded to the finance ministry along with another for two per cent health cess, with the industry contributing a matching amount, he said. The finance ministry was also being urged to raise the budgetary allocation for the health sector by one per cent as against 0.9 per cent of the GDP, the minister added.
According to him, the industry also supported laying down fixed margins for wholesalers and retailers.
For branded products, this margin is currently 10 per cent for wholesalers and 20 percent for retailers. It is eight and 16 per cent respectively for lifesaving drugs, while there are no fixed margins for generic drugs.