Access to ‘affordable’ medicines in India: challenges & solutions

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by one of our passionate writers, Mr Ravindra Nath. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not The European Sting’s position on the issue.

Accessibility to medicines is the fundamental right of every person. Medicines are integral parts of the health care and the modern health care is unthinkable without the availability of necessary medicines. Inequitable access to medicines is a major weakness in the Indian health care system. The challenge to affordable drugs becomes a prime concern while discussing about the chronic illness such as Diabetes and Hypertension.

Since patient suffering from Diabetes and Hypertension are bound to take the medicines life-long, the cost of relevant medicines can drive people living with diabetes into a downward spiral of debt and poverty. Further, the need for other mandatory expenditure like food, housing, and other family members living on the salary changes the affordability estimate. Affordability can be severely affected by multiple illnesses in the family or if the earning member is one to fall ill.

It was previously considered that Diabetes and Hypertension are “diseases of the rich” and is likely to be less prevalent in developing countries like India. But contrastingly it is found that people living in poorer countries on or below the poverty line tend to be diagnosed later and have less access to treatment and thus suffers more acute complications than the rich.

The majority of poor and even middle-class people in India do not have health insurance and are forced to pay for medicines as they need them. It is an irony that, though India is classified as “the diabetes capital of the world”, only a limited number of insurers specifically address the insurance needs of diabetics and hypertensive individuals. Most Indians pay for medicines – a key factor that contributes to the impoverishing effect of out-of-pocket (OOP) payments for healthcare.

In India, confusion and misinformation about generic medicines is abounding. Although the generic medicines are bio-equivalents of their innovator counterparts but, these are widely believed as inferior in their therapeutic efficacy and quality to branded products.  The confusion is spread across all the stakeholders including the general public, prescribers, policymakers and pharmaceutical trading agencies. Marketing practices adopted by manufacturers of imported branded medicines also propagate the belief that generics are of inferior quality.

Sustainable Development Goals acknowledges the need to improve the availability of affordable medicines for the world’s poor in its Goal 3.8 which aims to “Achieve universal health coverage including financial risk protection and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines for all.” A significant proportion of chronic disease morbidity and mortality can be prevented if medications are made accessible and affordable.

The foremost solution to the above mentioned problems is the sensitization of both, the medical practitioners and the patients about the generic medicines. The doctors need to be encouraged to prescribe generic medicines and the patient needs to be made aware about the generic medicines so that they can ask for them.

Also, creating only awareness is not going to reduce the burden of Diabetes & Hypertension. We need to encourage the community to involve into health promotion activities such as exercise, diet modification and strong social/peer support to halt the progression of disease and prevention of complications!

About the author

Ravindra Nath is in the final year of M.B.B.S program, from North DMC Medical College & Hindu Rao Hospital, New Delhi (India). He is currently involved in and wants to pursue a career in public health. He is an inborn leader & proficient in Oral and Written Communication Skills, with a nag for Networking and Managerial Skills. He also holds the position of Deputy Director in Fraternity of Seekers. He absolutely believes in being the change he wants to see in the world and, is quite committed to community service. His special interests include research in the field of neurology, trauma surgery, public health and learning more about Auto-Immune diseases & Indigenous form of Medicines. He adores TED talks and war history!

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Join the Hive!

Featured Stings

Ukraine takes EU money and runs to sign with Russia

The three sins the EU committed in 2015

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

Eurozone: How can 200 banks find €400 billion?

Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commission’s Vice President Šefčovič accentuates the importance of innovation to EU’s Energy Union

EU out to conquer African Union summit

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

European Youth Forum and youngest MEPs call on President Juncker to keep his promise to Europe’s youth

It’s EU vs. Google for real: the time is now, the case is open

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

A Sting Exclusive: “Doing ourselves a favour”, Vice President Dombrovskis underscores that this time growth has to come from within the EU

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

Vulnerable young people must not be blamed & stigmatised for violent radicalisation

COP21 Breaking News_10 December:#ParisAgreement: Points that remain in suspense

Light at the end of the Eurozone tunnel

Draghi tells the Parliament the ECB to use all its weaponry; euro slides to parity with the dollar

Four things Turkey did for business in the G20

The Commission tries to stop the ‘party’ with the structural funds

A shortened EU Summit admits failures, makes risky promises

The European Parliament double-checks the EU 2014-2020 budget

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Eurostat: Real unemployment double than the official rate

‘Two pack’ austerity package in force but with less vigor

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

The EU Consumer Policy on the Digital Market: A Behavioral Economics View

Drowning in the Mediterranean this summer? Many happy returns

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

MWC 2016 LIVE: Telenor CEO calls on operators to embrace Mobile Connect initiative

European Youth Forum welcomes establishment of new Youth Intergroup in the European Parliament

An Easter Special: Social protection of migrants in Europe as seen through the eyes of European youth

France fails again the exams. Kindly requested to sit in on Commission’s class

Brussels to tear down the trade wall with Mexico as opposed to Trump’s “walls”

Five-year low inflation for Eurozone and now Mario has to finally wake up the Germans

Greece lost a month that cannot be found neither in “mini Summits” nor in Berlin

EU Commission indifferent on Court of Auditors’ recommendations

Long live Eurozone’s bank supervisor down with the EU budget supremo

On Youth Participation: Are we active citizens?

Germany and OSCE support an east-west dialogue in Ukraine without exclusions

Scotland and First Minister Salmond enter the most challenging battlefield for independence: Europe

Banks suffocate the real economy by denying loans

The US repelled EU proposals on common rules for banks

IMF: Sorry Greece, Ireland, Portugal we were wrong!

Eurozone guarantees all banks with…taxpayers’ money

Greece did it again

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s