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India Poised to Supply Free Drugs to 1.2 Billion People

Source: IPS News

As the northern Indian state of Rajasthan rolls out an ambitious universal healthcare plan, the discontent of the state’s doctors stands in stark contrast to the joys of the 68 million people who will benefit from the scheme.

Just a little over a year ago, the state government began supplying free generic drugs to its massive population, effectively stripping doctors of the ability to prescribe more expensive branded medicine.

Some 350 essential generic drugs are now being distributed free of cost. As a result, outpatient visits have jumped 60 percent and inpatient admissions are up 30 percent, despite the fact that public health facilities are overcrowded and understaffed, and many people have to travel long distances to reach one. read more