India still reviewing prospects for mandated cuts in drug prices

India has not taken a decision on a new round of drug price controls as it talks with industry, civil society groups and other stakeholders, junior minister for the Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said. The ministry has oversight of pharmaceuticals. "We take every step very carefully when it comes to the issue of drug price control as we do not want to take even a single step without holding discussions with the industry," Ahir was quoted as saying by the Economic Times on the sidelines of conference held by business lobby group ASSOCHAM. Reports have suggested India is ready to cut prices on key drugs by 35% to 50%. Ahir said that steep cuts may also harm a push for quality and innovation by local drug firms. Separately at the conference, Director General of Health Services in India, Jagdish Prasad, was quoted by the Economic Times as adding that the government has asked drug manufacturers to set up research and development systems to ensure they follow quality standards. "Drug manufacturers should either have an R&D system of their own or they should be attached to R&D which is available in other industries, without R&D they should not manufacture drugs," he said. Report