Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday indicated that his government may bring in a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines, which are cheaper than equivalent branded drugs, to patients.
Mr. Modi said his government brought in a health policy after 15 years and capped the prices of medicines and stents, which has angered some pharmaceutical companies. Speaking at the inauguration of a charitable hospital here, he exhorted the wealthy people to come forward and contribute towards health care of the needy people.
This country has not been built by the kings and leaders alone but by the power of the people, he said. “Doctors write prescriptions in such a way that poor people do not understand the handwriting, and he has to buy that medicine from private stores at high prices. “We will bring in a legal framework by which if a doctor writes a prescription, he has to write in it that it will be enough for patients to buy generic medicine and he need not buy any other medicine,” he said.
“In our country doctors are less, hospitals are less and medicines are expensive. If one person falls ill in a middle class family, then the financial health of the family gets wrecked. He cannot buy a house, cannot conduct the marriage of daughter,” he pointed out. “It is the government’s responsibility that everybody should get health services at minimal price. We have recently declared a health policy. The health policy has been brought in after 15 years,” he said.
“ These companies which are manufacturing medicines, they used to charge Rs 1,200 for an injection. We called everyone (pharma companies) and ensured that the prices are reduced. “The prices of 700 medicines were capped so that poor people get medicines at reasonable rates when they face grave diseases. We have also capped the prices of stents used in heart ailments,” he said.
He said the government has implemented the ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Pariyojna’, where people get generic medicines from stores at reasonable rates. Modi also stressed on preventive health care saying if people adopt it, they will not have to visit hospitals. “Yoga is also very important for wellness and I am running a campaign to make it popular across the world,” he added.