Check black marketing, consider price capping & promote cheaper Covid drugs: Parliament Panel to govt

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By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: July 15, 2020 8:25:30 pm

 Hospitals ask for drug, kin say hard to find There was also a suggestion for a new law to deal with infectious disease.

A parliamentary panel on Wednesday suggested top government officials to check black marketing of coronavirus medicines, consider capping their prices and promote locally made and easily available cheaper medicines, sources said.

Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Joint Secretary in Health Ministry Lav Agarwal and other officials briefed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs chaired by Congress leader Anand Sharma on the management of the Covid-19 pandemic and phased unlocking and resumption of economic activities.

During the meeting, the committee members expressed concern about black marketing of drugs such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, the sources said, adding that they also suggested capping the price of these drugs.

Cutting across party lines, the MPs advocated for promoting locally made and easily available medicines, saying the pharmaceutical lobby was trying to suppress the cheaper drugs by pushing for expensive options, the sources said.

The members were also briefed by officials on lockdown and its effectiveness in checking the spread of the virus in the country. Sources said Home Secretary Bhalla made a presentation on the overall handling of the situation by the government.

The MPs suggested a national database of migrant labour be created as it will help in improving their social security and they should be given direct cash benefit and rations. Suggestions were also given for schools to prescribe a fixed time for online classes and ensure counselling of students in these tough times, the sources said.

Appreciating the handling of COVID-19 crisis in the national capital by the Centre, some members were of the opinion that similar efforts are required in other big metro cities such as Mumbai and Chennai.

There was also a suggestion for a new law to deal with infectious disease.

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