New Delhi: After India’s drug pricing regulator’s chairman Bhupendra Singh was transferred in a rejig of IAS officers, RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch discontent at the move and said that he was being “rewarded” for bringing down prices.
The appointments committee of the Cabinet transferred Singh to the National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention "in the rank and pay of additional secretary". The decision was announced in a notification on Wednesday.
In a recent study, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority of India (NPPA) concluded that private hospitals in Delhi/NCR routinely prescribe expensive branded drugs instead of the price-controlled ones and also earn profits up to 1737 percent on drugs, consumables and diagnosis.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch national co-convenor, Ashwani Mahajan posted a tweet: "@narendramodi @PMOIndia Pl see, @Bhupendra_IAS your key man against pharma lobby, bringing down cost of stents and knee implants, exposing >1700% profiteering by corporate hospitals, working for bringing down prices of other medical consumables &devices, ‘rewarded’ with transfer. (sic)"
@narendramodi @PMOIndia Pl see, @Bhupendra_IAS your key man against pharma lobby, bringing down cost of stents and knee implants, exposing >1700% profiteering by corporate hospitals, working for bringing down prices of other medical consumables &devices, ‘rewarded’ with transfer pic.twitter.com/DxlSnmOw7q— ASHWANI MAHAJAN (@ashwani_mahajan) March 1, 2018
Mahajan told News18, "This is a very surprising move. An officer in the know of things has been transferred. The next incumbent head will take time to understand the issues. The new appointment will defeat how public health was being made affordable."
SJM expressed surprise at the sudden transfer and said that the Prime Minister’s Office might not have been in the know and the appointment is more about the "play of lobbies".
In 2017, Singh took steps to reduce stents prices by over 80% and the idea was to give common man access to the life-saving devices, which promises to prevent heart attacks.
SJM member said, "With this kind of a track record, the transfer needs to be relooked at. He worked towards making healthcare affordable."
In May 2017, the SJM accused the NITI Aayog and bureaucrats of three key central ministries of trying to sabotage the Prime Minister’s vision of making medicines accessible to the poor at affordable prices.
In December 2017, the PMO took note of the outfit’s complaint against cervical cancer vaccine. The PMO had stated, “The outfit has asked for stoppage of introduction of HPV vaccine as it has highest rate of adverse effect among all vaccine in use for cervical cancer as per the World Health Organization report.”