Govt. to cap veterinary drug prices

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Last Updated on October 28, 2019 by The Health Master

New Delhi: After medical devices and stents, the government is considering capping the prices of veterinary drugs in a bid to push Govt’s new scheme to control livestock diseases.

An expert committee has been tasked with preparing a list of veterinary drugs that should be available in adequate numbers and assured quality at all times at affordable prices.

A new catalogue of drugs and vaccines for animal use will be created, people familiar with the matter told ET. The move could impact companies in the animal healthcare business in India, including Zydus Cadila, Intas Pharmaceuticals, MSD and Zoetis.

The need for a National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) for veterinary drugs emerged after the launch of the National Animal Disease Control Programme by the PM in September to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and brucellosis in livestock by 2030. 

The scheme envisages vaccination of 300 million cows, bulls and buffaloes, 200 million sheep and goats and 10 million pigs. The challenge is to get the vaccines in adequate quantities, according to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

“India’s FMD control programme requires 1,000 million doses every year, whereas the current production is only around 500 million doses,” a government official said on condition of anonymity.

Citing the disease burden, the Ministry of Fisheries suggested in a recent note to the health ministry that the vaccines be considered essential. “It is requested that safe and effective veterinary vaccines be made available to the stakeholders at reasonable cost to help make the national flagship programme successful,” the ministry said in its letter, which ET reviewed. 

“Considering the essentiality of these vaccines compared to the disease burden in the country, along with other considerations of efficacy, safety and cost, it is proposed that the FMD (trivalent) oil adjuvant vaccine and brucellosis S19 live vaccine (vet vaccine) may be included in NLEM.”