Launch of NPPA-CIFG, Mumbai
Suja Nair – Mumbai Bureau
The Mumbai FDA office became a platform for the launch of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)-CIFG; followed by a discussion on consumer awareness. Dignitaries participating at the event included A K Banerjee, Chairman, NPPA; L M Kaushal, Director, NPPA, Sharad Upasani, President, Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI), Dhanraj Khamatkar, Commissioner, FDA Maharashtra and S A Momin, Joint Commissioner, FDA Maharashtra to name a few. NPPA-CIFG is being set up on a pilot basis initially in five states namely, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Gujarat.
The launch started with the welcome address by Arun Jha, Member Secretary, NPPA. He credited the successful launch of the NPPA-CIFG to Ashok Kumar and said that this would emerge as an interactive platform for discussion on various pharma issues. He also highlighted that action on any complaint received with required information is to be initiated within 30 days from the date of complaint by NPPA. According to Ashok Kumar, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govern-ment of India, “This initiative is a part of consumer awareness programme for dissemination of information regarding drug pricing and availability and also to create an online facility for logging complaints with NPPA; apart from this, a scheme for setting up internet based centre for information, facilitation and grievances has also been started in consultation with NIC.” He added that its objective is to disseminate information on the availability and the notified price of scheduled drugs, and formulations inorder to create consumer awareness and facilitate speedy complaint redressal on overcharging in prices of scheduled formulations, non availability or shortage of any medicine, sale of scheduled formulations without prior price approval of NPPA. B N Singh, President, Indian Drug Manufacturer’s Association (IDMA), represented the pharma fraternity. He said that the industry would support the whole scheme as it will also benefit the pharma industry too. An attendee at the launch Dr Dipak Chatterjee, Secretary, Medico-Legal Consultant, Bandra Khar Medical Association, shares that this launch is definitely going to be a success as common people are going to be benefited the most, as from now on they will have access to information on scheduled drugs and non-scheduled drugs.
These centres are proposed to be run by a local NGO recommended by the State Government, initially for a period of three years. They are required to furnish through the State Government to NPPA, an agreement in prescribed form for running and operating the centre. The NGOs also have to execute indemnity bonds in respect of the hardware and software to be provided under the scheme to them by NPPA through the State Government. The NGO is required to provide space for the NPPA-CIFG in a prominent location, easily accessible to people in the selected city. NPPA-CIFG is being funded by NPPA for hardware, software and connectivity and the project is implemented by NIC. NPPA has already extended the facility of online complaint redressal by providing connectivity with 555 CICs in North East States and 135 CICs in J&K. This scheme has also been linked to 10 centres in various government buildings in New Delhi.