India.com: New Delhi: Thursday, February 23, 2017.
The Central Information Commission today directed the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority to disclose all records on the basis of which “ceiling prices” for the coronary stents were fixed.
The transparency watchdog also directed the NPPA to maintain catalogued data of all complaints bringing out instances of overcharging by hospitals along with action taken by it.
“Details of aforesaid complaints found true along with penal/ corrective action taken by NPPA shall be proactively placed in public domain through the website of NPPA,” Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad said in his order.
He said these directions are being issued under the powers conferred under Section 19(8)(a)(iv) of the RTI Act, 2005 to “promote greater transparency, which shall ensure that the benefits of beneficial executive actions reach the general masses”.
The Section of the transparency law empowers the Commission to issue directives to any public authority to make necessary changes “to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records”.
The order came on the plea of Suraj Prakash who had sought to know the basis on which the NPPA has fixed the prices of all types of coronary stents.
“The Commission is inclined to allow the request of the appellant considering the larger public interest involved the CPIO shall also furnish complete information including notesheets along with the relevant documents/ price costing estimations etc. whereupon the ‘ceiling prices’ were arrived at by the NPPA,” Azad said.
The issue of coronary stents came to media limelight following instructions issued by the government yesterday invoking an emergency clause under drug pricing control law thus making it mandatory for stent makers to maintain production and supply of coronary stents.
However, the matter before the Commission pertained to an RTI application filed on September 9, 2015.
The pharmaceutical department said there have been reports of shortage of coronary stents in the market and hospitals.
Last week, the government had slashed prices of stents by up to 85 per cent by capping them at Rs 7,260 for bare metal ones and Rs 29,600 for the drug eluting variety.
Under the Section 3 (i) of DPCO, 2013, the government can regulate distribution and direct any manufacturer to increase production and sell products to institutions, hospitals or any agency as the case may be in case of emergency or in circumstances of urgency or in case of non-commercial use in public interest.