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RSS arm raises questions over govt’s draft policy on pharma

LiveMint logoLiveMint 17-08-2017 Teena Thacker

New Delhi: The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) has questioned the “scope and contours” of a proposed pharmaceutical policy, saying it was concerned that the blueprint may deviate from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment of providing affordable healthcare.

“We are concerned about indications that your ministry is bringing out a new pharmaceutical policy, of which very little is known to the public of its scope, contours and substance,” said a letter written by SJM national co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan to minister for chemicals and fertilizers Ananth Kumar.

SJM is the economic arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, of which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the political arm.

Alleging that the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) did not follow a “transparent” procedure in drafting the policy, the SJM said it was concerned that the DoP had not interacted with public health groups and limited its discussions with stakeholders to the pharma industry.

The non-government organisation asked the minister to adopt a “transparent process” and ensure that “proper procedure” is followed by engaging with public health groups.

“Our prime minister’s wish and declared policy is to provide affordable health to the poor by keeping the prices of drugs low and by ensuring easy and economical access to health services. However, we are constrained to state that DOP is working against the stated objectives of prime minister,” added the letter.

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