ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Healthcare in IndiaSubscribe to Healthcare in India

Is Drug Development in India Responsive to the Disease Burden?

Although the Indian pharmaceutical industry has played an important role in the development of generic medicines, it is not clear whether drug development, which is dominated by the private sector, is informed of the disease burden and public health priorities. An attempt is made to address this question by juxtaposing the therapeutic focus of the drugs approved for marketing and the new chemical entities in the pipeline with the disease burden across age groups.

National Health Policy, 2017

The National Health Policy, 2017 reflects the perfunctory attitude towards public health, so deeply entrenched among the mandarins of the health ministry. The policy paves the way for the contraction of public healthcare systems, thereby reducing the government’s involvement in the delivery of health services, and facilitates the dominance of the private sector in curative care. However, in the absence of a robust public healthcare system, the goal of achieving “healthcare for all” becomes even more onerous.

Social Choice and Political Economy of Health

The National Health Policy, 2017 can be credited for an alternative vision towards the development of the health sector in India, but it falls short of expectations on certain counts. The core idea of strategic purchasing from the private sector is relevant, but can be incompatible with the existence of a robust public sector, particularly when reforms for enhancing the competitiveness of the public sector are undermined. Thus, the NHP essentially reopens the fundamental debate regarding the role of social choice mechanisms while deciding upon policy instruments and desirable outcomes. This has profound implications for the political economy of the health sector and can unintentionally catapult health as a salient feature in electoral politics.

Role of Government in Funded Health Insurance Schemes

State-funded health insurance schemes do not target the truly needy or completely miss them, while the government is unable to regulate the private sector. These aspects were not taken into account when the government announced the National Health Protection Scheme. The scheme will turn out to be just another means for the growth of the private sector in the secondary and tertiary care segments.

Publicly Financed Health Insurance Schemes

The announcement of the National Health Protection Scheme provides us with an opportunity to see how its predecessor Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and other publicly funded health insurance schemes have fared so far. The experiences of PFHIS indicate that targeted health insurance coupled with a healthcare delivery system dominated by “for profit” private providers failed to address the issues of access and financial risk protection. They possibly displace resources that can be utilised for strengthening a public health system.

Prices of Patented Medicines in India

Medicines with valid patents generally enjoy exemption from price regulation in most countries. In India, the Drugs (Prices Control) Order lays down the rules for regulation of prices of medicines through a National List of Essential Medicines, inserted as Schedule-I of theDPCO. While any medicine that is included in Schedule-I automatically qualifies for price regulation, theDPCO exempts patented medicines that have been developed indigenously from price control for a period of five years.Can patented molecules for emerging as well as infectious diseases be brought under price regulation in India?

EWS Beds in Delhi

In 2007, the Delhi High Court ordered all private hospitals in Delhi having the free treatment condition for economically weaker section patients in their lease deed to provide free treatment to 10% poor inpatients and 25% poor outpatients. This article analyses the monthly reports of “percentage bed occupancy” of the ews beds in 34 private hospitals from 2012–13 to 2015–16. The bed occupancy of 41% hospitals was below 10% and only two hospitals featured more than 30%. A number of loopholes need to be plugged by the custodian of the public properties, which is the state in this case, to ensure that the public partners who are the poor patients are welcomed and provided non-discriminatory health services without any fee.

Road Traffic Accidents and Injuries in India

Road traffic fatalities constitute 16.6% of all deaths, making this the sixth leading cause of death in India, and a major contributor to socio-economic losses, the disability burden, and hospitalisation. An attempt to measure catastrophic levels of health expenditure on accidental injuries, road traffic accidents, and falls, finds that the burden of out-of-pocket expenditure is the highest for such injuries. The financial burden is particularly high for poorer households in rural areas, and those seeking treatment at private health facilities with no health insurance. Public health facilities for trauma care and health coverage for low-income groups could help these vulnerable households.

In Search of Non-tangential Premises

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 marks a significant shift in the discourse on commercialisation of surrogacy. This article explores issues of altruism, repugnance, paternalism, marketability, exploitation, and assumptions of the moral inviolability of motherhood, with respect to surrogacy in India. It offers close perspectives on the ramifications of altruism in assisted reproduction based on field research and interviews conducted in the cities of Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Anand, and Howrah.

mHealth Solutions for Family Planning Services

There is limited experience in India of using mobile phones for sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, in rural areas where service coverage is still insufficient and accurate information is lacking. Information and integral support can be provided by leveraging mobile health (mHealth) services, but issues of privacy and gender sensitivity are crucial for its success.

National Medical Commission Bill, 2017

The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, which aims to overhaul medical education in India and replace the 83-year-old Medical Council of India with a government-appointed NMC, has several worrying features. While the long-term implications of the bill have not been satisfactorily debated and addressed, the bill itself is in danger of causing similar or even worse outcomes than the previous MCI Act. The NMC Bill remains a questionable remedy, and it has drawn criticism from several quarters, including the country’s medical fraternity.

Political Interests and Private Healthcare Lobby Collude to Stifle Patients’ Rights in Karnataka

The amendments in the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Bill, 2017 contained key provisions related to patient rights, cost regulation, and grievance redressal. The bill also provided substantial opportunity for private medical establishments to be part of the regulatory process, thereby defeating the very purpose of regulation. PMEs misrepresented the bill as “draconian” and rejected the amendments. PME’s resistance to the bill is part of the larger resistance of the medical fraternity in general to any regulation. This has led to a crisis in both the public and private health sectors. While the KPME Bill is an important first step in ensuring accountability of the private health sector, the Karnataka government needs to also increase budgetary allocation for the public health system and reverse its pro-private healthcare policies.

Pages

Back to Top