Bhupendra Singh, the chairman of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, was transferred to a new role on Thursday.
The appointments committee of the Cabinet appointed current National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority chairman Bhupendra Singh to the National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention in the Cabinet Secretariat "in the rank and pay of additional secretary", according to a notification on Wednesday.
He has been known best for introducing several decisions such as capping prices of stents and essential drugs. In the recent past, the NPPA has been proactive in taking action against defaulters and slashing the prices of drugs. The authority also came in the open about the profits private hospitals were making. The authority did this by publicly declaring details sought under the RTI Act as the NPPA believed that it was of public interest.
Several activists have expressed disappointment over the decision, and suspect that it has been taken to favour the pharma and medical devices lobby.
According to reports, the All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) has accused US-based multinational firms in the healthcare sector for running malicious campaigns against the NPPA and the transfer of its chairman Bhupendra Singh.
"The NPPA under the governance of Injeti Srinivas (former chairman) and Singh showered tremendous leadership. Srinivas was transferred even before the completion of one year following the price regulation of critical cardiac and diabetes medicines through public interest of the DPCO. During his term, Singh has taken many positive steps to ensure affordability of medicines and medical devices that discomforted the industry," said the AIDAN, a non-governmental organisation working towards increasing access and rational use of essential medicines.
The NPPA said that Bhupendra Singh relinquished his charge as the NPPA Chairman on Thursday. There is still no clarity on who would now be assuming charge of the position.