The high-level panel, constituted by the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers on price negotiations of drugs patented abroad and marketed in the country, will once again meet the stake holders to discuss the issues on January 22, 2009.

The panel has fixed the meeting with the chief executive officers of major multi national pharma companies which have their operations in India and other Indian pharma companies to know their concerns on the price controlling, according to a senior official in the panel.

"We are expecting the representatives of at least six to seven foreign MNCs along with other Indian company executives in the meeting. The panel has formulated some recommendations on the issue, but we have to discuss this with all the stake holders, concerned non-governmental organisations and various departments prior to finalising it," he added. The document would be the first in India detailing the issues to control the price of imported patent products in the country.

The panel, set up in February 2007 to suggest a mechanism on price negotiations of drugs patented abroad and marketed in the country, has so far held around seven meetings with industry associations, NGOs, concerned ministries and departments.

The government effort is to ensure availability of drugs and medical devices patented abroad in affordable prices even as many of the imported products are only available with a higher price in the market at present. However, the big pharma companies are opposing the government move while introducing them in the country pointing that it is discriminatory to control the prices of imported patented drugs.