Concerned over inflated prices of some life-saving drugs, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has constituted a committee of experts to guide the court on availability of cheap medicines.

A division bench comprised of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol has constituted a 13-members committee, which comprises doctors of the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla and the Rajendra Prasad Medical College in Tanda in Kangra district, and asked it to guide it on lowest prices of medicines.

Hearing a public interest petition by Amardeep Chauhan alleging high prices of life-saving drugs, the judges observed: “Such an increase (in prices) shocks the judicial conscience of this court. The salt is the same. The drug is commonly manufactured. There is no patent with regard to the drug. It only shows that at the cost of poor patients, huge profits are being made.” Court stated that “no doubt the pharmaceutical companies are entitled to earn profits, but the profits must be reasonable profits.”

The court also directed Pharma companies to file a reply stating what steps they were taking to ensure that drugs were available at the minimum costs.

Court also raises apprehension about the fact that same companies are producing identical drug of identical potency under different brand names, but selling them of different prices. The court would next hear the matter March 21.

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