The Parliamentary standing committee attached to chemicals and fertilizers ministry has expressed strong disappointment over the delay in finalizing the much awaited policy.

"The Committee considers it unfortunate that no headway has been made in the finalisation of the policy. Considering the concerns of the common man in the matter of availability of drugs, its pricing and other related issues, the Committee members are anxious that an appropriate policy addressing those vital areas are finalised and implemented at the earliest. The Committee, therefore, reiterate that necessary steps be taken without any further loss of time," a recent report by the panel said.

In its earlier report last year also, the panel had strongly called for early announcement of the policy. "The Committee fails to understand that in spite of their strong recommendation regarding finalization of National Pharmaceuticals Policy-2006 made in their Twentieth Report (2006-07) which is an Action Taken Report of the Seventh Report of the Committee (2005-06), the Department has remained static on such a crucial issue. The Committee, therefore, express their deep anguish over the delay and reiterate their earlier recommendation regarding finalization of policy" ,according to its previous report.

The Cabinet Note on draft National Pharmaceuticals Policy – 2006 has been referred to a Group of Ministers (GOM) for its examination. So far four meetings of GOM have been held on 10 April 2007, 12 September 2007, 30 January, 2008 and 30 April, 2008. Though the next meeting of the GoM was expected to finalise the policy, no date could be fixed for the meeting yet. Observers feel that it is unlikely to come up during the term of the present government which will end by May this year.

In its reply to the panel, the ministry claimed that it had not remained static on the issue. "The Chemicals Minister has written two letters dated May 30, 2007 and March 4, 2008 to the Chairman of Group of Ministers expressing his concern over delay in finalization of the draft policy and requesting for an early decision. As decided in the 4th meeting of GoM, the matter has been taken up with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as well as the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law & Justice," ministry told the panel.