India to provide free, cap pricing for essential diagnostic lab tests

India to provide free, cap pricing for essential diagnostic lab tests

New Delhi: Now people will be able to get free basic and life-saving lab tests at primary healthcare centres and public hospitals, as India is formulating an essential diagnostic list (EDL) to guide the government’s policy on these tests. The list that is expected to come next year, will also cut down pricing on important tests for private hospitals and labs.

Around 50 experts have been included in the consultation on Monday, that also has on board the WHO deputy director-general Dr Soumya Swaminathan.

“The list will have a price ceiling for the essential tests for private players,” said Dr Kamini Walia, a scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), according to a report by Hindustan Times. The list would also include tests for hypertension, diabetes, iron deficiency and haemoglobin levels, she said.

In 1996, on the medicines front, India had come up with its first list of essential medicines based on WHO’s model list with 279 medicines. In 2003, the list was extended to 354 medicines, 348 in 2011 and 376 in 2015.

“The EDL will also have to work in synchronisation with the essential medicine list and promote effective use of medicines on it,” said Dr Walia. She added that the identification of the essential tests and their availability will also be ensured at the primary healthcare level.