India’s National Cancer Grid Successfully Implemented Pooled Procurement of Drugs

India’s National Cancer Grid (NCG) has sparked industry interest with its innovative approach to drug procurement. The pilot project, involving 23 cancer centers within the NCG network, successfully negotiated prices for 40 crucial oncology drugs, leading to significant cost savings of about INR 13 billion ($166 million). The median savings is approximately 80%, and price reductions range from 22% to 98% for drugs like imatinib, rituximab, trastuzumab, and pemetrexed.

The NCG’s success in adopting a centralized procurement model, typically associated with government programs, highlights potential cost-cutting strategies within the pharmaceutical sector. The initiative’s pragmatic coverage of a variety of drugs, including generics and patented medicines such as anticancer medications, antibiotics, antifungals, antiemetics, and growth factors, makes it an interesting case study. The diverse mix of private and public hospitals participating in the initiative demonstrates its practical applicability in different healthcare settings.

While there is some concern regarding the drug quality, efficacy, and safety, beyond the immediate cost savings, the NCG’s initiative suggests a shift towards more strategic drug procurement practices within India’s pharmaceutical industry.

Written by: Ames Gross – President and Founder, Pacific Bridge Medical (PBM)
Mr. Gross founded PBM in 1988 and has helped hundreds of medical companies with regulatory and business development issues in Asia. He is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the Asian medical markets. Mr. Gross has a BA degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University.

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