India may extend caps to more drugs-sources

MUMBAI, June 24 Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:14am EDT

MUMBAI, June 24 (Reuters) - India's health ministry has formed a committee that will meet for the first time on Tuesday to consider raising the number of drugs deemed essential and subject to price caps, people directly involved in the process said.

The committee will consider adding more drugs to the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), all of which would then come under price controls, one of the people told Reuters.

New Delhi last year raised the number of drugs that are subject to price controls to 348, up from 74 earlier, with a view to make medicines affordable for the 70 percent of people living on less than $2 a day.

India's Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Lov Verma did not respond to mails for comment. All the sources declined to be named because the details of the plan are not public.

Although a decision is unlikely to be made soon, the move will draw the ire of global drugmakers like Pfizer Inc, GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Abbott Laboratories, all of which have a large presence in India's $15 billion pharmaceutical industry.

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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