Free Essential Medicines for all from October

TNI Bureau: The Government will soon provide a free supply of Essential Medicines to all patients in Public Health Cantres across the country. The ambitious “free-medicines-for-all” scheme will be rolled out from October. The entire programme is estimated to cost Rs 28,560 crore over the 12th Five Year Plan.

Addressing a Conference on Responsible Use of Medicines at Amsterdam in the Netherlands yesterday, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “The move will provide affordable health care to the people by reducing out of pocket expenses for medicines.”

Mr. Azad also points out that such initiative will also promote the rational use of medicines and reduce the consumption of inessential, unscientific and hazardous medicines.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has sent the “National List of Essential Medicines,2011” to all the states to use as reference which enlisted 348 drugs including anti-AIDS, analgesics, anti-ulcers, anti psychotic, sedatives, anesthetic agents, lipid lowering agents, steroids and anti platelet drugs etc.

However, Tamil Nadu has been providing free medicines in its public health centres for the past 15 years, while Rajasthan introduced it last October. Both these states have a corporation that runs and services with complete functional autonomy.

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