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Government mulling plan for free essential drugs to all

A proposal to provide essential drugs free of cost to all patients is under government's consideration in an effort to bring down out of pocket expenditure of an individual on health care, which is presently a whopping 86 per cent.

Quoting a WHO report, Health Minister J P Nadda told Rajya Sabha that out of pocket spending as part of private expenditure on health care is 86.3 per cent in India compared to 22 per cent in the US and 57 per cent in the UK.

The reason for high expenses in India is attributed to low government expenditure on health and the poor having limited access to essential drugs and diagnostics in public health services.

"Government is examining a proposal to launch free essential drugs scheme to provide essential drugs free of cost to all patients visiting public health facilities," Nadda said, replying to questions in Rajya Sabha.

He said the impact of rising health care cost has been drawing the government's attention and it has taken several steps to provide "accessible, affordable and accountable" health care facilities to people.

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