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Time to return to Ayurved? Indians becoming poorer due to expense on medicines, says WHO
As per a report published by the Times of India, the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concerns about Indians' high out-of-pocket expenses on medicines. According to WHO, 3.2% Indians are set to fall below the poverty line because of their high medical bills. Also, it said that about 70% of Indians spend their entire income on healthcare and purchasing drugs, while this figure is 30-40% in other Asian countries. Despite that Indians are still suffering from infected diseases due to lack of best quality drugs and healthcare facilities.
Regional advisor of WHO, Dr. Katheline stressed the need for effective monitoring system in India, while expressing concern about the lack of Drugs and Therapeutics Committee (DTC) and Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee (PTC) to provide patients more efficient and rational use of medicines. WHO has been urging to set these panels for a decade.
According to India's Planning Commission, 3.9 crore Indians are pushed to poverty because of ill health every year. The percentage of untreated ailing patients because of financial constaints is around 30% in rural India and 20% in urban. Moreover, of the hospital admits, about 47% take loans or sell assets in rural India. This number is 31% for the urban sector. On top of it, the governments are cutting down expenses on health sector. Compared to a decade ago, Maharashtra's expenses are down from 11.3% to 5.2%, Kerala down from 17% to 12.5% and similar trends for Tamilnadu, Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka and MP.
A report of the Planning Commission's recommends ensuring availability of free essential medicines by increasing public spending on drug procurement from 0.1% to 0.5% of the GDP as low public spending on drugs and non-availability of free medicines in government healthcare facilities discourages people from accessing public sector health units.
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