Price control has failed to improve access to medicines: IMS Health report

A report by global information and technology services company, IMS Health has concluded that price control as a strategy by the government to improve access to medicines in India has proved to be insignificant so far


The report was released at an event in Delhi on July 15, 2015 by the noted economist Dr Surjit Bhalla.

As per the study, 'Assessing the Impact of Price Control Measures on Access to Medicines in India', such a strategy is ineffective and can be counter productive as well. The price control is neither an effective nor sustainable strategy for improving access to medicines for Indian patients, says the report. 

The report suggests a combination of healthcare financing and non-financing measures such as promoting joint and bulk procurement mechanisms and investment in capacity building be adopted by the government to address the issues of access and affordability.

Noted economist and author, Dr Surjit Bhalla who released the report remarked, "In my experience, the poor are the last to benefit from price control interventions. Not surprisingly, this study shows that high-income patient populationss have been the main beneficiaries of DPCO 2013. In addition to price control, tariffs on essential medicines completely defeat the goal of making such medicines available to low income patients."

Commenting on the findings of the report, IMS Health South Asia General Manager Nitin Goel said: "Price control has limited impact on improving patient access and, furthermore, is not aligned with the requirements of a vibrant economy like India."

Government's priority should be on strengthening India's healthcare infrastructure and extending universal insurance coverage, he added.

Following the publication of the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013, more than 652 formulations in India are now subjected to a price ceiling in an effort by the government to maintain affordability and increase access to drugs.


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