Govt mulls free medicine for all

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Yusuf, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    The government is considering rolling out a " free-medicine-to-all" scheme through public hospital and health facilities across the country in a bid to arrest poverty and indebtedness mainly in rural areas.

    The strategy aims to facilitate state governments to set up autonomous medical supplies corporation, a public sector body, to supply free, quality generic essential medicines to indoor and outdoor patients, who seek healthcare in government hospitals and health facilities.

    The Planning Commission's working group on health for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017), headed by Union health secretary K Chandramouli, suggested that all state governments should follow the model adopted by Tamil Nadu.

    In the southern state, the bulk procurement of drugs by medical supply corporation directly from manufacturers through a transparent bidding process substantially reduces the cost of medicines. In many cases, they cost 1/10th to 1/15th less than retail outlets.

    Medicines account for about 50%-80% of healthcare costs, which often lead to rural indebtedness, the working group has found. The scheme will ensure free government healthcare to the poor and vulnerable. The panel calculated that scheme will attract about 52% of the patients. This will significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenditure in healthcare by the end of the 12th plan, it says.

    Low public spending on drugs and non-availability of free medicines in government healthcare facilities are major factors discouraging people from accessing public sector health facilities.

    The scheme will cost Rs 28,675 crore during the 12th Plan period, along with additional spending on one-time capital cost. If Centre bears 85% of the cost of the scheme, its expenditure will be Rs 24,374 crore (Rs 4, 875 crore per year) plus another Rs 1, 293 crore, if it bears 100% of the capital cost. The Centre's liability will be Rs 25,667 crore for the entire plan period.

    Kerala has already adopted the Tamil Nadu model and Bihar and Rajasthan are in the process of implementing the scheme.
    Govt mulls free medicine for all - The Times of India

     
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  3. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Correct the bloody distribution system first before rolling out any mango man scheme!

    :facepalm:
     
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  4. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Seems like a good plan to me, but the implementation will not be easy. Retail outlets take huge profit through selling life-saving drugs, making them too costly and out of reach for the common people. We need to increase our spending in health-care.
     
  5. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Another embezzling scheme for our politicians and burden for the middle class people in the form of extra taxes.
     
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  6. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Though I have not availed myself of this scheme...it's not that bad...yes there are the pilferage, black market etc..but even then it is useful to the poorest of the poor to have some medicine than no medicine at all..

    A few refinements on the model that is currently followed in TN and we have a very good system on our hands.
     
  7. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    The retailers dont make the money, its the holder of the patent or rights. Companies like Cipla, Ranbaxy etc make a killing. Retailers dont earn much. They dont make a killing at least.
     
  8. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Medical expense is killing these days. I mean even the middle class cannot afford that is the state. We need a mechanism to make sure healthcare is available to all and free/affordable. The medical insurance schemes are not good as well. We dont get any medicines under insurance. So many illnesses are kept out of insurance.

    My sister in australia gets her medicines for free too including paracetamols that are bought OTC.
     
  9. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Who pays for it?...There are no free meals. A huge amount of money is spent to make these medicines. How will the govt fund this - additional cess shall be levied in petrol OR service tax (like you pay an additional education cess). Who will fund the R&D? It costs millions to produce a new drug.

    The State Medical Stores Dept babus will make a killing...:facepalm:
    Why should'nt they earn a profit?....if we want a market economy then you have to design systems to protect the poor and needy. We should'nt grude the retailer for his profit.
    Retailers do not make the medicines out of reach, but govt policies. 35% of the cost is in the supply chain. Mfg - C&F - Distributor - chemist/pharmacy shop. The govt policies do not permit sale of drugs directly by the mfg. A retail outlet by a mfg will sell drugs 35% cheaper than the retailer, but the govt does not want that.
    We need to do that urgently. We currently have 0.9 hospital beds per 1000 people. Our primary healthcare system is in a sorry state.

    The QC standards of the govt procurement system leave much to be desired. Every month we come across cases, where people have died of substandard medications, but the govt does not prosecute the mfg or impose fines.
     
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  10. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    (a) R&D does not come free. Infact R&D is not even funded by any bank in India. I know of a pharma giant based in Hyderabad. It was started by a former DRDO scientist An electronics chap went into the pharma field - only to provide vaccines to Indian children. No bank in India funded him, but he was funded by a gulf based investor.

    Today the company produces world class vaccines. This is not free.

    (b) The money is made by the pass-off and counterfeit manufacturers. A branded paracetamol+ibuprofen strip of 15 tablets has an MRP of INR 11/-. The pass-off chaps sell a similar sounding medcine for INR 24/-. These pass-off substandard drugs are sold in the small town and villages, where the people are not educated enough to identify the pass-off. And what is the NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) doing about such things - sweet F_all.
     
  11. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    @lemontree:
    1. Price of medicines will come down, because they will be sold at bulk prices, and not at the MRP.

    2. There will be corruption, but medicines are not something which can become items of daily consumption. All strips must be having some label telling that these are for free distribution through hospital dispensaries only, and not to be sold in retail. Drugs can be sold on prescription inside hospital dispensaries. These dispensaries currently distribute low-cost first-aid medicines. What we need is easy access to diagnostic centers and lower cost of treatment, without that Indians will keep dieing.

    2. I have been a sufferer, I was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia in 2001 and was treated by "Bone Marrow Transplantation" in April 2002. More than 90% of the total expense was due to high cost of medicines used during the treatment, I was treated at AIIMS and hospital bills were only a few thousand. I was a lucky one because of the generous monetary help I received from IIT Kharagpur and the alumnus (around 10 lakh). But I have also met several unlucky ones who stopped taking medicine and died because they could not afford the cost of the treatment.

    4. During my treatment I was only admitted for a few months, but thanks to good care and timely medication I am fit. According to my experience access to medicines and proper diagnosis is more vital than availability of beds.

    Saving valuable lives is more important than saving a few crores.
     
  12. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Do you know what you will get will this system?...read below.
    Paracetamol injections that will kill you news details mysore, about today news mysore, mysore news, information mysore, mysore information, business directory mysore, tourist place mysor
    This a simple drug, imagine was rot a bulk procurement system will throw up.

    Contaminated IV drip kills 12 women http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...nant-women-in-10-days/articleshow/7566522.cms

    These drugs were brought by the state medical procurement system, produced in bulk... so they are "cheap".

    Bulk drugs are not sold in strips, but in kilos. If the cost has to be lowered the mfg will not provide the alu foil, that too costs money.
    True, but the current system is always short of drugs anyway. The system exists but is poorly managed.

    Why should medical treatment be cheap? Does the IIT graduate look of low paying jobs in India or jumps and goes abroad - for a better pay packet?
    A doctor spends hours studying and many hours at work - gets called at all odd hours. But you want him to be paid less, so that people shoukld get cheap treatment?

    Sorry to know what you have gone through. There are medical research companies that make specific "designer" drugs for individuals as per their genetic make up. These are top notch companies who can really save peoples lives - but it costs money.

    Glad that you are better, and I am sure you have seen the state of govt run hospitals, where patients lie on the floor. That is not acceptable - a hospitalised patient should get the proper treatment and facilities. Once the basics are provided, then the diagnostics will improve.
    Exactly my point. Nothing is free.
     
  13. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    This should be left for the state to do. I know for a fact that Kerala's health care system is internationally acclaimed and its HDI is an indicator of how well they have been doing it. Even migrant workers to Kerela get affordable health care from the govt. Richer states that have a weak health quotient like Gujarat and Maha should learn from Kerela and adopt its health care model.

    The center should just broadly state the policy and let states implement it according to their needs as one size fits all does not apply here.
     
  14. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    In government deals, price could be negotiated.

    The South African generic aids drugs deal was in the news some time back where the west tried to protect business while others tried to save lives. Yes research costs need to be recovered. Bulk purchases of a particular drug could recover that as well as give a decent profit.
     
  15. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    well i know only one thing , nothing comes free and money to fiance this scheme would come form direct and indirect taxing my income and even then no one can say that that system would be corrupt free.this whole saga of right to this right to that and free .... all this laws are nothing but begin slept on state without taking into considerations their fiancial conditions. And even states are not bothered to implement properly.this scheme are no where but on paper. all this upa brought rights/scheme are nothing but indirectly indebting me to
     

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