Punjab asks Centre to regulate price of buprenorphine under Essential Commodities Act

After cracking whip on private de-addiction centres in the state by putting a cap on price of detoxification medicine, the Punjab government has asked the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to regulate the price of buprenorphine-naloxone under the Essential Commodities Act. Punjab is home to about 7.2 lakh drug addicts, of which only about 2.5 lakh are undergoing treatment at government-run and private de-addiction centres. Reaching out to the rest of the addicts is one of the key challenges faced by the state government and in a letter to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, the state government has cited profiteering and commercialization by private centres as the key reasons for the addicts unable to access the treatment. The state government in the letter apprised the central authority that the combination of buprenorphine-naloxone is available at private drug de-addiction centres at exorbitant rates in the range of Rs 300 to Rs 400 for a strip of 10 tablets. Whereas, the same medicine is procured by the state government at the rate of Rs 38 per strip of 10 tablets through contract rate.

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