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Free medicines to millions
New Delhi (ucanindia): The federal government proposes to provide free medicines to millions of people in a year through a 270 billion rupees joint initiative with state governments.
Under the plan, free generic drugs would be given at the public health facilities in states, according to a health ministry official.
The generics are off-patent medicines which cost much less than the patented drugs. Most commonly used drugs are generic.
"This year, a new and ambitious initiative has been proposed for supply of free generic drugs in the public health facilities in the states," the official said, adding that it would help in expanding access to medicines.
The proposal is part of the 12th Plan which involves 200 billion rupees outlay from the federal government and about 70 billion rupees from the states.
The Indian pharma industry has hailed the move. "Any attempt by the government to provide medicines free of cost to the weaker sections of society is always welcome. We will support this initiative by the government," said D G Shah, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance.
It would also be a boost for the domestic industry which thrives on generic drugs, not only in India but also in the export market.
Under the plan, doctors will be limited to a generics-only drug list and face punishment for prescribing branded medicines.
This would be a major disadvantage for pharmaceutical giants in one of the world’s fastest-growing drug markets.
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