Buying medicines in India is very expensive. It has been alleged in the past too, that there exists a nexus between the doctors and chemists, and patients have to suffer as a result. Many a times, your doctor will prescribe you medicines, which is only available at one or two medical stores. Most of the times, your doctor will write the name of the medicine in unreadable handwriting, and your chemist will give you the drug of their choice, which are expensive.
Doctors also prescribe or write branded drugs only, which is very expensive. Do you know that many doctors are also believed to indulge in practice of marketing certain medicine brands, as they are given freebies like paid family trips, paid dinners, cruise vacation or other forms of entertainment, allegedly by pharma companies? The government is trying to cap this expensive gift practice.
A welcome move by Mr. Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently indicated that his government may bring in a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines, which are cheaper than equivalent branded drugs, to patients.
“Doctors write prescriptions in such a way that poor people do not understand the handwriting, and he has to buy that medicine from private stores at high prices.
“We will bring in a legal framework by which if a doctor writes a prescription, he has to write in it that it will be enough for patients to buy generic medicine and he need not buy any other medicine,” he said.
Quick summary of notable health sector initiatives by the Modi government
- Capping of stents prices. Patients are often forced to buy only branded stents from hospitals which are sold at inflated prices- 20x times. Patients were left with no choice but to buy these stents at steep prices. Hospital authorities refused to operate a patient if stents was not brought from them.
- Doctor check on generic medicines. Doctors will be legally obliged to prescribe generic medicines and not branded drugs to be bought from private stores, once the health policy is introduced by the Modi government.
- Reducing medicines cost. Modi government held a meeting with pharma companies to cap the prices of 700 essential medicines. Medicines which cost rs 1200 will not cost rs 70-80.
“In our country doctors are less, hospitals are less and medicines are expensive. If one person falls ill in a middle class family, then the financial health of the family gets wrecked. He cannot buy a house, cannot conduct the marriage of daughter,” he pointed out.
Modi also stressed on preventive health care saying if people adopt it, they will not have to visit hospitals. “Yoga is also very important for wellness and I am running a campaign to make it popular across the world,” he added.He said the government has implemented the ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Pariyojna’, where people get generic medicines from stores at reasonable rates.