New Delhi: Accusing the Centre of being insensitive towards the common people, two Rajya Sabha members on Friday expressed concern over the “unprecedented” increase in the prices of essential drugs and demanded immediate relief.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the House, John Brittas of CPI(M) said prices of more than 800 medicines are being increased by 11 per cent effective April 1 which will adversely impact the common man, and urged the government to withdraw the hike.
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi too joined the issue and urged the Union government to provide relief on the front.
“I’m sad because the life of the common man is becoming tough and much more difficult. Today’s April 1 and already the people are reeling under the price rise and every day petroleum price is going up.
“But today…another unfortunate thing is going to happen. The wholesale price of drugs of more than 800 items, which are essential for our survival, is being increased by 11 per cent,” Brittas said.
Terming the hike as unprecedented, the CPI(M) member pointed out that there has never been such a steep increase in the prices of drugs in the past.
“When the whole country is passing through a health emergency this should have been avoided by any sensitive government. But there is a gross insensitivity that is shown to the people,” he said.
Emphasising that people’s health budget has already gone up, Brittas said an increase in prices of common illnesses, like fever, infections, heart disease, and anaemia, would further impact them.
The member told the House that he too was ill and availed medical care because of the CGHS facility.
“But think about the vast chunk of the population who doesn’t have any social security or health insurance. What is their plight?” he wondered and urged the government to roll back the steep hike.
Joining the issue, Chaturvedi pointed out that while petrol, diesel, cooking fuel and even food are already costly, medicines too have become dearer.
She said the cost of living is increasing every day.
Chaturvedi said “this insensitive government” should consider giving relief in prices of common drugs.
In a circular dated March 25, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority had said that based on the wholesale price index, the annual change in the WPI works out as 10.76607 per cent during the calendar year 2021 over the preceding year.