The panel instructed that COVID-19 drugs be made easily available and affordable (Representational)
India will be crossing the 1 million mark in coronavirus cases soon but life-saving drugs are either not available or are being sold in black market. A parliamentary panel on Home Affairs raised the issue and instructed that COVID-19 drugs be made easily available and affordable for patients.
"The government not only needs to promote cheaper and easily available domestic-made medicines for COVID-19 but also check recommendation and prices of expensive medicines pushed by pharma companies," a member of standing committee said.
According to him, members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs also demanded that the maximum price of COVID-19 medicines be capped.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Joint Secretary in Health Ministry Lav Agarwal and other officials were present in the meeting chaired by Congress leader Anand Sharma.
Cutting across party lines, the committee members questioned why expensive medicines were often being recommended for COVID-19 treatment, sources in the panel said.
The committee members expressed concern over black marketing of medicines. The government also informed the panel that they have written letters to states to stop life-saving drugs to be sold in the black market.
Naming three cheaper and easily available medicines, the committee members questioned why are they not being promoted despite being equally effective.
"We are working to bring down the mortality rate below 1 per cent and in this we have issued necessary directions to states regarding sale of drugs," an official who participated in meeting discloses.