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Essential drugs in short supply in Delhi

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Essential drugs in short supply in Delhi
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Shortage of some essential drugs across the capital after government's decision to bring down their prices have left patients suffering from various serious diseases like diabetes and liver ailments in lurch.
The drugs that are in short supply include Albumin (a live-saving protein), Zyloric (uric acid control), Ocid (acidity) and Eltroxin (a medicine for thyroid).

Pharmacists in various areas claimed that drug manufacturers have either reduced or stopped supply of certain essential drugs after government's initiative to control their prices.

"There is shortage of several vital drugs like Zyloric, Ocid and Eltroxin and Albumin. Drug companies said there is shortage of raw materials for formulation of drugs. What can we do," asked Rippon Nath, CEO of Nath Brothers Chemist in Connaught Place.

As shortage of medicine brought to light absence of any mechanism for monitoring supply of medicines, president of All India Chemists and Distributor's Federation Kailash Gupta demanded constitution of a monitoring committee to ensure regular supply of essential drugs.

"Companies have reduced production of these essential medicines because their profit margins have gone down," he claimed. 

When contacted, a spokesperson of leading drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals said the "shortage in supplies is not related to our medicines being under regulations."

"GSK supports the Indian government's intention to increase affordability of essential medicines for patients who need them," the spokesperson said.

He further said, "We are currently facing some issues across our manufacturing network that is impacting our ability to supply. We are doing our utmost to bring supply back to normal as soon as possible and the normal supply is expected to be restored in the next few months."

When contacted, a top Cadila healthcare official said, "There is no shortage of any drug manufactured by the company.

We continue to produce at our previous levels. There is no cut in either production or supply. From our end, the supply situation is fine and we have not received any complaints."

AIIMS spokesperson Dr Amit Gupta also demanded a strong monitoring mechanism to ensure regular supply of drugs.

"Government should set up stringent monitoring committee which will have some sort of authority to penalise the errant drug manufactures. Otherwise the drug manufacturers would not comply with the norms as they have commercial interests," said Dr Gupta.

Manish Gupta of New Delhi Medicos near MAL hospital said 10 capsules of Zyloric used to cost Rs 37.40 but after price control measures were announced, it now costs Rs 23.30. Ocid's price was cut by nearly Rs 30 for a sachet containing 15 tablets.

To keep a check on prices of essential medicines, the government has brought 52 new drugs under its price control mechanism including some commonly used painkillers and antibiotics, as also many others used for treatment of cancer.

Following the move, more than 450 drug formulation packs are now under the price control mechanism of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

"The NPPA has fixed/revised the prices in respect of 52 formulation packs both ceiling and retail price packs under DPCO, 2013," the drug pricing regulator said.

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