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65 percent of population lacks essential medication in India

Posted in May 2012

Thomas Lim

Newly launched TV talk show - Satyamev Jayate by Aamir Khan on May 27 exposed the instances of medical malpractices. Medicine, perceived as a noble profession, have been affected by a section of doctors who have brought corruption to their profession. Most of the medical expenses incurred by an average Indian is paid from their own pocket, unlike the European or American countries where health care are looked after by the government. In India private expenditure on health care is close to 78 percent, yet due to the high cost of medicine, 65 percent of population lacks essential medication in India.
Managing Director, Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation Jaipur, Dr Samit Sharma who went against all odds including the Mafia in medication business, exposed that due to branding culture and the unscrupulous paramedics along with Medical Representative have increase the cost of medication by another ten to fifteen percent only to meet the incentive for pushing their brand into the market.
Dr Sharma also pointed out that the Blood Cancer medicine under the generic will cost around Rs 8,000. The same under branding in the market is costing Rs 2.5 lakhs, so also the diabetic medicine, which cost less than Rs 2 for ten tablets in generic medicine, the branding one will cost around Rs 170. Whereas about Rs 35,000 crores worth of generic medicine are being export.
Any NGOs wanting to open a generic medical store can apply through the department of chemical and fertilizers and the government gave Rs 50,000 , strangely very few applicants for the same.
Meghalaya, known as the bed for various medicinal plants has only bang on Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy ( AYUSH), a part of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India.
Former President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, understood the potential of the medicinal plants of Meghalaya, invited the practitioners of traditional medicine to plant saplings in the Maugal Garden of the Parliament. In the state of Meghalaya, till date only the individual or village base are preserving all the traditional plants, none of the government department or organizations attempted to promote the medicinal plants.
The traditional practitioners here in the state, unaware of the Rights to the Intellectual Property assets and knowledge to generate economic wealth; help and assist individuals, organizations in capacity building and work as a platform for development, promotion, protection, compliance and enforcement of Intellectual Property and knowledge including through interactions with other organizations in India and abroad.
The fear of being duplicated, the findings and practices by the traditional practitioners have been kept closed to their chest, not even letting the family members know of their findings, have lost the treasure back to the nature. 
The health care facilities in the rural area is pathetic, all the government hospitals, PHC and CHC is always said to be running short of medicine, worst so, even the Civil Hospital in Shillong is facing the same problems, and on occasion expired-medicines are being administered to the patients.
The pharmacy in Meghalaya are mostly on hired license, hence on many occasion NGOs had seized expired medicines from the pharmacy even in Urban areas, so one can imagine the rural sector. 
Not to talk about the generic medicine, even such expensive branding of medicine on many incidents found that the life saving drugs which needs to be store in the cold refrigerator and be kept away from direct sunlight, whereas, there are many pharmacies which are functioning without the Refrigerator or proper storing place.
In the urban areas too the pharmacy are mushrooming in every nook and corner, which is good for the society, but when it is not up to the specification, is going to harm the society more.
Health and Family Welfare department here, should immediately take cognition of the complaint, it is also not safe to entirely be dependable on the social organization taking the Law in to their own hands by conducting frequent checking, as the concerned authorities have failed to do so.
Health is Wealth, are known even to the Class one students, who are being taught in the School, whereas, the concern authorities are lacking behind in checking and providing a quality health care to the people. How do we answer to the younger generation in these aspects?
The government should conduct checking in all the pharmacies in the state, any flaw found should not be compromised, but immediate action should be taken, which could even compound to closing down pharmacy, as this is dealing with human lives, and the incumbent Chief Minster, Dr Mukul M Sangma will understand this the best being a qualified doctor himself.  It is also hoped that the generic medicine is encouraged to facilitate health care to all sections of the society.


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