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Q. High medicine prices and issues: In the backdrop of high drug prices, comment on the need of comprehensive health care system in India.
Apr 19, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently the Prime Minister of India has announced that the government will bring in a law to ensure doctors prescribe low-cost generic medicines. The government’s move that seeks to put an end to the Pharma-industry taking advantage, with the help of doctors, of the information asymmetry that exists between those who prescribe medicines and those who buy them. 

Issue- 

  • Though governments move is well intended, but it is not the best solution in the absence of a comprehensive system of healthcare on the lines of the one the present government has proposed.

Analysis-

  • In India there is absence of a comprehensive system of healthcare. A comprehensive health care system puts paid to out-of-pocket expenses and aligns the incentives of insurers and healthcare providers, and it also switches to generics from expensive branded drugs would cut costs.
  • Similarly, under comprehensive health care system in which all costs are prepaid and pooled, hence there is no place for exorbitant priced medicines and also healthcare provider has no incentive to inflate costs because that would only eat into its own income. Hence there is an urgent need of comprehensive health care system. 

Way ahead-

  • In the backdrop of high drug prices in India, there is urgent need of a robust legal and regulatory framework to fix drug quality. Quality must be ensured by enforcing adherence to rigorously established technical standards, supplemented by competition among different manufacturers. 
  • The amendment made in 2016 which issued directives to the physicians to prescribe medicines legibly and only in their generic names, this clause must be enforced effectively. 
  • There is an urgent need to spread about awareness about availability of affordable and quality drugs through utilisation of technology like smart-phones, where a list of different manufactures and price must be made available. 

Conclusion-

The issue of high drug prices is always bone of contention in India. Though successive governments have tried to resolve, but they have not achieved desired success. As India does not have comprehensive healthcare system which has various ramification on health system. Hence to ensure the affordable and quality drugs, there is an urgent need to have comprehensive health care system.


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