Policy Matter

Free Generic Drugs


Public Health being a state subject, it is for the States/UTs to draw up such action plans as per their need. Under the National Healthprescription-drugs Mission (NHM), financial support is provided to the States/UTs for strengthening their healthcare delivery system including support for provision of free drugs to those who access public health facilities based on the requirement posed by the States/UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans. An incentive of up to 5% additional funding (over and above the normal allocation of the state) under the NHM is provided to those states that introduce free medicines scheme.  Under the NHM-Free drug service Initiative substantial funding is available to States for provision of free drugs subject to States/UTs meeting certain specified conditions. The number of free drugs provided by the States varies from State to State and most States have their own list of essential medicines.

The steps taken by the Government to check Spurious/Sub-Standard Drugs in the country include:

(i)    amending the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 by the Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 2008 to provide for more stringent penalties for manufacture and trade of spurious and adulterated drugs.

(ii)    making provisions in the Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 2008 for setting up of Special designated courts for speedy disposal of cases to deal with the cases of offences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

(iii)   issuance of  guidelines for taking action on samples of drugs declared spurious or not of standard quality in the light of enhanced penalties under the Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 2008 on the Website of CDSCO for purpose of uniform implementation of Drugs and Cosmetics Act in the Country.

(iv)  initiation of Whistle Blower Scheme to encourage vigilant Public  Participation in the direction of Movement of spurious drugs in the country.

(v)    providing assistance for upgrading of testing facilities and establishing new drug testing laboratories under the Capacity Building project through World Bank, so as to enhance the capacity of the laboratories to test large number of samples.

(vi)  overseeing inspection of drug manufacturing sites to ensure quality of imported bulk drugs.

(vii)       amendment of Schedule M to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, pertaining to Good Manufacturing Practices in 2001 to make it at par with the international standards. It is mandatory for the manufacturers of drugs to comply with requirements of this schedule for quality control of the drugs manufactured by them.

(viii)      introduction of Good laboratory Practices.

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