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THE PHARMA REVIEW (NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2017)

Health Policy Conundrum – The Indian Landscape

Dr. M. D. Nair

Introduction: The Government of India published a Draft National Healthcare Policy (2015) in 2017, fifteen years after the last Policy Statement of 2002. The policy acknowledges the fact that the prevailing policy of 2002 has failed to realise the wide gaps which exist in the country with regard to providing adequate healthcare to the population in spite of availability of adequate interventions, since “the power of existing interventions is not matched by the power of systems to deliver them to those in greatest need, in a comprehensive way and on an adequate scale”. Among the available interventions, the development, manufacture and distribution of needed medicines is an important component. So too are availability of medical and para medical professionals to man the health centres in remote areas of the country with most of them in the rural areas and hospitals and clinics at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels in urban, semi urban and rural areas in the country. During the early days after independence, India had laid emphasis on the setting up of healthcare systems and providers in the public sector with limited participation from the private sector. In the wake of the failure of public sector pharmaceutical companies to meet the needs and the hospitals not meeting minimum service standards, in recent years, particularly after the economic liberalisation of 1991, there has been a shift to the private sector whether in the area of hospitals, medical institutions, pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance agencies etc. The Primary Health Centres and Rural Health Missions meant to extend medical services to the rural areas showed mixed outcomes in terms of their effectiveness. 

 

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