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Free drugs, diagnostics to all in new health policy: Govt

Free drugs, diagnostics to all in new health policy: Govt

New Delhi: The new health policy puts forth a concrete framework for universal health-care and has provisions to provide free drugs and diagnostics to all, Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel said.

Asserting that the health-care sector is poised to grow to USD 280 billion by 2020, she said the health policy also creates an environment for private sector to grow while it also envisages raising public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP from the present 1.2 per cent.

“The overall health-care market is estimated to be USD 100 billion and is expected to grow to USD 280 billion by 2020 with a compounded annual growth rate of 23 per cent which is significant,” Patel said at 5th annual conference “PharmaMed HD 2017-Drug, Devices and Delivery – A360 Degree Approach” under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet cleared the National Health policy which puts forth a concrete framework for universal health-care and suggest policy directive to make free drugs and diagnostics available to all in the country.

“The policy also creates an environment for the private sector to grow and suggest raising the public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of GDP from the present 1.2 per cent and thus, reduce the out of pocket expenditure,” she said.

Noting that health is in the government’s priority list, Patel termed as a “great achievement” the health policy, which came after a long gap, and said there is a paradigm shift from the concept of sick care to more promotive and preventive health-care.

She said India’s competitive edge lies not just in the availability of large pool of trained medical professional but also its cost effectiveness with respect to its peers in Asia and western countries.

“The average cost of surgery in India is about 1/10th of what it costs in the US and Europe,” she said, adding 80 per cent of the anti-retroviral drug which is used globally to combat AIDS is supplied by Indian pharmaceutical industry.

“However there is scope of significant enhancement of health-care services considering that health-care spending as percentage of GDP is going on rising. The rural India, which accounts for 70 per cent of population is all set to emerge as a potential demand source,” she said.

Referring to a study, she said hospitals and diagnostic centres attracted FDI worth USD 4.09 billion between 2000 and 2016.

The Minister maintained that this year’s Union budget envisages a budget allocation of Rs 48,878 crore on healthcare vis-a-vis Rs 38,879 crore last year. “The government also announced for the current year, setting up of two new AIIMS in Gujarat and Jharkhand,” she said.

The government also plans to set a single window approval system for innovation in medical research while the Union cabinet has also approved an agreement with World Health Organisation under which it will develop technical documents on traditional medicine which is expected to lead to better acceptance of Indian Indian medicine at the international level, she added.

The e-health initiative launched by the Centre aims at providing effective and affordable health-care services to citizens while the department of pharmaceuticals also plans for six new pharma projects, she said.

Source: PTI
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