Capping the price of anti-cancer drugs is a welcome move

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine, Social Health Community Comments Off

There is also a need to bring about initiatives that can help in the early diagnosis of cancer

New Delhi, 28th February 2019: The government has brought 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control, capping trade margin at 30%. This would reduce their retail prices by up to 85%. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has invoked extraordinary powers in public interest, under Para 19 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 to bring 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control through trade margin rationalization.

As per data available with NPPA, the MRP for 105 brands will be reduced up to 85% entailing minimum saving of ₹105 crore to consumers. Currently, 57 anti-cancer drugs are under price control as scheduled formulations. Now 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer medicines have been selected for price regulation by restricting trade margin on the selling price (MRP) up to 30%.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The price control on anti-cancer drugs is a welcome move as it will bring benefits to the many who cannot afford them currently. Although cancer has become an epidemic with a steep rise in its incidence, the irony is that the medicines are very expensive and beyond the reach of a common man. Thus, this price control is very necessary to provide people with affordable cancer medicines. The government should also take adequate steps to ensure early diagnosis of cancer because it is a proven fact that early diagnosis can save many lives.”

The NPPA currently fixes prices of drugs placed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under Schedule-I of the DPCO. So far, around 1000 drugs have been brought under price control under the initiative.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The prevalence of cancer in our country is not uniform all over. There is a difference in the types of cancer that affect people basis rural and urban settings. We have seen that in rural women, cervical cancer is the most widespread while in urban women, breast cancer is the most rampant. In case of men, rural people are majorly affected by cancers of the oral cavity while rural men are greatly inflicted by cancer of the lung.”

Some harm reduction measures to prevent cancer

  • Pay attention to symptoms and get yourself checked regularly.
  • Using any type of tobacco puts a person at an increased risk of cancer. Avoiding or stopping the consumption of tobacco is one of the foremost steps in cancer prevention.
  • Filter tap water properly as this can reduce your exposure to possible carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  • Get vaccinated on time and as per schedule. For example, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and several other kinds of cancer.
  • Drinking plenty of water and other liquids can help in reducing the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to flush them through the bladder faster.
  • Most importantly, make lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can help ward off diseases.

Acupuncture to be now an independent system of healthcare

Health Care Comments Off

As per an office order dated 21st Feb, 2019 by Department of Health Research (No.U-11018/03/2018-HR/e-office: 3164145) on the subject “Recognition of Acupuncture as a system of Healthcare/Therapy”, an Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) was constituted on 20.10.2016, to examine the proposals received for recognition of acupuncture as a system of medicine.  Acupuncture was accepted as a mode of therapy vide Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Order No. R.14015/25/96-U&H(R)(Pt), dated 25.11.2003.

The Committee, which held its meetings on 04.10.2017 and 09.01.2018, submitted its report on 11.06.2018, which included the following two recommendations, among others.

  1. Acupuncture system, which is already recognised to be practiced as a mode of therapy, can be accepted as an independent system of healthcare for the indications for which there is evidence and expertise exists for teaching, training and certification.
  1. Expert committees may be constituted for this purpose which needs to include experts who are academically active in acupuncture – this can be determined from publications on the subject in reputed data bases like PubMed and not restricting to names suggested by the applicant associations. Experts from Allopathy and other systems also need to be members of such committees for drawing the boundaries for evidence-based practices, for ensuring complementarily and best interests of patients.

Based on the IDC’s report, the Government constituted an Apex Committee on Acupuncture for the purpose of promotion and regulation of Acupuncture as a system of Healthcare / Therapy: Dr VM Katoch, former Secretary, DHR and DG, ICMR (Chairman); Dr Raman Kapur, Chairman, National Coordination Committee (Acupuncture Expert), New Delhi (Vice-Chairman); Secretary (Health), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (or nominee), New Delhi (Member); Dr Vinay Goyal, Deptt. of Neurology, AIIIMS, New Delhi (Member); Dr A Mooventhan, Sr Medical Officer (Yoga), Centre for Integrative Medicine and Research, AIIMS, New Delhi (Member)Dr S Banerjee, Deptt. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi (Member)Dr JD Pandian, Professor of Neurology, CMC, Ludhiana (Member)Representative from ICMR, New Delhi (Member) and Joint Secretary, DHR (Convenor).

The Committee may, depending on requirements, co-opt member / expert from the relevant field.

The terms of reference for the Apex committee on Acupuncture will be as under:

  1. To frame detailed guidelines for promotion and regulation of Acupuncture as a system of Healthcare / Therapy.
  2. To suggest steps for implementation of the guidelines so framed as well as for reimbursement for Acupuncture.

iii.  To suggest appropriate authority/Department for implementation of the guidelines.

  1. To submit its final report to the Government within a period of three months from the date of the first meeting of the committee.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania   (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA