India to roll out 5 Billion Worth of Free Drugs in Move Toward Universal Health Care
According to Al Jazeera today, India is moving ahead with a plan to provide 5 billion dollars worth of free drugs to patients in a further move towards universal health care. The central government will be providing 200 billion rupees and the 29 states will be kicking in 66 billion rupees. The types of free drugs being offered range from anti-AiDS drugs to anti-psychotics to cancer medicines.
India’s health care costs are largely born by the patient. Unlike much of the world, patients pay 78% of the cost of health care and 72% of health spending goes to medications and not to treatment, according to the Public Health Foundation of India. Even with this new development, India’s public health care system has a long way to go as many hospitals lack up-to-date equipment and doctors.
Still the new initiative for free drugs in India was welcomed as a step in helping the poor with health care.