India’s Public Doctors Will Soon Be Able to Prescribe “Free” Generic Drugs–Up To Half of the Population
Posted Jul 05 2012 11:08am
Just a few months ago India announced they were authorizing a local drug company to make a generic copy of a cancer drug made by Bayer. This opened a lot of eyes and Roche for one looked into their pricing on cancer drugs and is reducing prices on some of their drugs too. It appears the move is on to make drugs affordable.
Part of the response has been with big pharma buying generic drug companies. The new policy is slated to begin before the end of this year. This certainly is good news for patients in India who are in the poverty levels that have not been able to get treatment, especially with cancer drugs. BD
(Reuters) - India has put in place a $5.4 billion policy to provide free medicine to its people, a decision that could change the lives of hundreds of millions, but a ban on branded drugs stands to cut Big Pharma out of the windfall.
From city hospitals to tiny rural clinics, India's public doctors will soon be able to prescribe free generic drugs to all comers, vastly expanding access to medicine in a country where public spending on health was just $4.50 per person last year.
The plan was quietly adopted last year but not publicized. Initial funding has been allocated in recent weeks, officials said.
But the initiative would overhaul a system where healthcare is often a luxury and private clinics account for four times as much spending as state hospitals, despite 40 percent of the people living below the poverty line, or $1.25 a day or less.
Under various existing programs, around 250 million people, or less than a quarter of India's population, now receive free medicines, according to the health ministry. "If doctors are found to be prescribing medicines which are not on the list, or which are branded, then disciplinary action will be initiated," he said.