Policy Matter

Acion Against Spurious Drugs Rackets

The Central Government is implementing the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) under National Health Mission (NHM) for interventions upto the district level. The programme components include awareness generation for Cancer prevention, screening, early detection and referral to an appropriate level institution for treatment. For Cancer, the focus is on three sites, namely breast, cervical and oral Cancer. The Government of India has also approved a “Tertiary Care for Cancer” Scheme in the year Spurious-Drugs-Rackets2013-14. Under the said scheme, Government of India is assisting to establish/set up State Cancer Institutes (SCI) and Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCC) in different parts of the country. The maximum assistance inclusive of State share for SCI is upto Rs.120 crore and for TCCC is upto Rs.45 crore subject to eligibility as per scheme guidelines and availability of funds.

The treatment for cancer in Government Hospitals is either free or subsidized. In addition to Cancer diagnosis and treatment by the State Governments Health Institutes, the Central Government Institutions such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Safdurjung Hospital, Dr Ram ManoharLohia Hospital, PGIMER Chandigarh, JIPMER Puducherry, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, etc. provide facilities for diagnosis and treatment of Cancer.

Oncology in its various aspects has focus in case of new AIIMS and many upgraded institutions under PradhanMantriSwasthyaSurakshaYojna (PMSSY). Setting up of National Cancer Institute at Jhajjar (Haryana) and 2nd campus of Chittranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata has also been approved.

The list of medicines specified in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) which are included in the First Schedule of Drug Pricing Control Order (DPCO), 2013 also contain drugs used for the treatment of Cancer. NLEM (drug formulations) medicines for which ceiling prices have been notified under DPCO, 2013, includes 47 anti-Cancer medicines.

Presently one Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) outlet has been opened at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Approval has also been accorded for opening of such outlets at 6 new AIIMS and major Central Government Hospitals. Further, M/s HLL Lifecare Ltd, which is a 100% Government of India owned PSU under this Ministry, has been directed to contact all States which may like to open AMRIT outlets in major State Government hospitals/institutions. As per the approval accorded for setting up AMRIT, the prices of the products are to be reasonable and significantly lower than the market price. AMRIT pharmacy has been opened with an objective to make available Cancer and Cardiovascular drugs and implants at reasonable prices to the patients.

Financial assistance to Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients is available under the RashtriyaArogyaNidhi (RAN). Besides this, the Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) within the RashtriyaArogyaNidhi has been set up in 2009 wherein 27 erstwhile Regional Cancer Centres (RCCs) are provided with revolving funds to provide immediate financial assistance upto Rs.2.00 lakh to BPL Cancer patients.

Assistance for Palliative care can now be a part of the National Health Mission. The States can incorporate their proposals related with initiation/enhancement of palliative care services in their respective State Project Implementation Plans.

Moreover, certain amendments were effected in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 in 2014, which are aimed at removing the regulatory barriers for adequate access to morphine and other opioids for medical needs such as pain relief and palliative care.

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