Is self-regulation in #medtech doomed to fail?

The offer by needle and syringe manufacturers to voluntarily cap trade margins at 75 per cent after meeting with the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority apparently validates the view that without the actionable threat of price control, the healthcare sector cannot be trusted to self-regulate.

“The NPPA advised manufacturers to consider regulating price themselves; otherwise, the government would be forced to take steps as they have done to cap prices in the past for items like stents and orthopaedic implants,” reported the newspaper Mint quoting a person aware of the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

I asked, Rajiv Nath, President, AISNMA, the association of homegrown manufacturers that made this offer, in an e-mail : why wait for an NPPA ultimatum? If a cap was implementable, why not just go ahead and do it? I have published responses to these and other queries in their entirety in the interest of clarity. But before that, my take based on these responses and the media coverage on the issue. Continue reading “Is self-regulation in #medtech doomed to fail?”

Bilaspur, Chikalguda and the dichotomy of Indian public healthcare #indiahealth

8118957521_d0f8f8b170India’s latest healthcare shame is a shoddily-conducted government sterilisation drive that proved fatal for 13 women in rural Chhattisgarh. The tale that unfolded in Bilaspur has more than its share of dystopic elements : unhygienic surgical instruments, tainted drugs and women reportedly herded like cattle (or lured like prey) onto the operating table, surgeries completed at alarming speed, and the women sent home with little or no post-operative care, only to fall sick. Or die.

In the media, the spotlight is on a range of pertinent issues such as medical negligence, corruption and the unfairness of letting women bear the entire burden of family planning.

What’s come out looking really worse for wear, though, is the public healthcare system. Once again. The drive was government-funded, was ostensibly working towards targets set by the government, and used drugs reportedly bought through the public procurement machinery. Continue reading “Bilaspur, Chikalguda and the dichotomy of Indian public healthcare #indiahealth”

India and universal healthcare : public engagement needed

Too thin to spot : There's scant public discussion on India's plan for universal healthcare

Two articles I read recently brought home, once more, the absolute lack of a cohesive national debate on “healthcare for all Indians” which is currently a hot topic in New Delhi. Continue reading “India and universal healthcare : public engagement needed”

India’s compulsory licence to Natco : follow-up thoughts

A good starting point to take the healthcare agenda forward

In granting a compulsory licence to Natco on Bayer’s cancer drug Nexavar the patents office has done its job well. It has put a provision in the law meant expressly to balance public good with incentives for innovation to its right use. See Shamnad Basheer’s lucid analysis of the order on spicyip.

But it is important that this not be the predominant or only method deployed by the government to improve drug access and affordability to millions of Indians. Given its visibility, there is a danger of the patents and CL debate hijacking or at the very least taking up prime space in the discussions around  the country’s healthcare agenda at the cost of other, less high-profile, measures that could be equally effective. Continue reading “India’s compulsory licence to Natco : follow-up thoughts”