e-Governance

Consumers can file e-Complaints for medicine over-pricing in India

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The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has enabled online filing of complaints for making the redressal mechanism convinient for the consumers. This will help to keep a check on fake, faulty or overpriced drugs that consumers purchase.

Consumers can file their e-Complaints by logging on to – www.nppaindia. nic.in

This move of the NPPA is part of the Right to Information (RTI). Consumers can fill in an online form and can send their grievance to the body. Action will be initiated within a time period of 30 working days after the filing of the complaint. The government body has set up a cell which will attend to citizens' grievances at the NPPA office in central Delhi on the first Tuesday of every month between 11 am and 12 noon. It plans to introduce toll free helpline numbers soon.

The website is designed and prepared by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) a government agency in Delhi.

In order to make the service popular NPPA has announced to reward a cash price of INR 1,000 for each e-Complaint that is found correct.

In the past, the NPPA didnot disclose the number of complaints they have dealt with since they started the service. However, sources say that in the last three years the body has taken action against drug manufacturers for overcharging.

In July 2008, NPPA had initiated action against major pharmaceutical companies such as Ranbaxy, Cipla and US Vitamin, India, for overcharging consumers for medicines that were price controlled. 

This venture of the NPPA is praised by various bodies such as Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association (IDMA), Mumbai, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), Mumbai. However, IDMA also points out a word of caution since these measures run the risk of vilifying firms.

NPPA plans to conduct a nationwide census on drug firms for providing inputs to the government for future planning and policymaking as well. Experts says that the intention is laudable but the implementation is the most crucial part of the whole venture.

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