Activist groups — all of them well known players — have brought an action in the Supreme Court to force the Government of India to control the price of all medicines in the country and to cut the prices established in the new Drug Price Control order, according to the Times of India. This is the latest manoeuvre in a complex saga — last month, industry claimed that the new pricing policy was far more punitive than the Cabinet had ordered (in the wake of an earlier SC decision) and would cost it over 900 crore rupees a year. With national elections due by spring of next year, this may not be the usual tussle between corporates and activists fought out in impenetrable legalese. Neither side, though, seems willing to focus on the main problem: market malfunctioning in the private sector. Many patients would pay more for brands they trust but many others want the cheapest generic — pharmacists and prescribers often do not give them the choice and patients lack the confidence or knowledge to refuse to pay over the odds.
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