News of the government’s proposal that free generic medicines be made available through the public health system can be read in two ways. On the one hand, it is a much-needed step forward – possibly a game-changing one – in improving affordability and accessibility in public health.
On the other hand, its efficacy will depend on whether simultaneous measures are taken to improve healthcare service delivery, which is in a shambles in most Indian states.
The Planning Commission’s working group on drugs and food for the 12th Five-Year Plan estimated that the country’s public health sector caters to only 22 per cent of the population.
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