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9 Oct, 2012

India Proposes Free Supply of Essential Medicines to People


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 03-October, 2012 – The Government of India has proposed an initiative for free supply of Essential Medicines in Public Health Facilities in the country aiming to provide affordable health care to the people by reducing out of pocket expenses for medicine. This initiative will promote rational use of medicines and reduce the consumption of non-essential, unscientific and hazardous medicines.

This was stated by Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare in Amsterdam, the Netherlands today. 

Addressing the Conference on “Responsible Use of Medicines”, Mr Azad said responsible and rational use of medicines is a crucial part of the national health policy and access to medicines is one of the vital tools needed to improve and maintain public health.

Considering that provision of affordable medicines is the responsibility of the public sector and the State, a fine balance has to be maintained between the private sector which operates on the demands of the market and the responsibility of the State for ensuring a positive benefit risk profile of available medicines.

He said there is very high out of pocket expenditure on health in India, of which a larger part is on medicine. “We need to look at adherence to Standard Treatment Guidelines, curbing unethical promotion of medicines by the drug manufacturers, better regulatory control over prescription and dispensing of medicine and also to make the consumer aware the hazards of self medication.

Mr Azad said India is facing an increasing threat of Anti Microbial Resistance. To tackle the threat and also to promote rational and responsible use of antibiotics in India, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has developed the National Policy for Containment of Anti Microbial Resistance which aims at prudent use of antibiotics, prevention of emergence of drug resistance and prevention of spread of transmission of resistant bacteria.