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23 Feb 2019

Key Understanding on Price monitoring and research units (PMRUs) intiative in India

PMRUs intitative is adopted by The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA). Under the initiative NPPA facilitates price monitoring and research units (PMRUs) in states and union territories to ensure ground-level compliance of its orders on ceiling prices for essential medicines. Within a month after taking the decision to implement the scheme, the units are operational in four states. States like Punjab, Gujrat, Kerala and Odisha is already set up PMRUs under state drug control.

What is the role of PMRUs?

PMRUs have a dedicated team to monitor price movements.

Why PMRUs set up although NPPA is there?

  • Though the national pricing regulator has been spotting thousands of cases of overcharging, it lacked field units to develop necessary linkages with state licensing authorities to bring the culprits to book.
  • The NPPA had only an office in the national capital with no state-level branches. The PMRUs were conceptualised to resolve that problem and the draft was announced way back in 2015.
  • However, the scheme got stuck in the pipeline for a long time. The decision to roll it out was taken at a meeting between the national price regulator and state drug controllers last month.
  • The NPPA has been banking on data provided by state authorities regarding pricing violations so far. However, with various functions including licensing and quality control, state officials have their hands full and checks on drug pricing often takes back seat.

How PMRUs will function?

Each unit will function under the direct supervision of the concerned state drug controller and monitor the price movement of scheduled and non-scheduled formulations based on periodical returns filed by the industry. PMRUs would act as key partners of the NPPA with their information gathering mechanism at the grassroots level.

For the purpose of providing staff and infrastructure to PMRUs, states are divided into three categories, based on population. States having more than 3 per cent of total population fall in the first category, less than 3 per cent population belong to category 2 and those with less than one per cent are in the third category.

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