Pharma industry demands increase in public spending on healthcare Aug 07, 2015

Pharma industry demands increase in public spending on healthcare

Pharmaceutical industry on Friday demanded increased public spending on healthcare to improve access to healthcare in the country.

As public spending on healthcare in India is among the lowest in the world, the increased public spending and sustainable financing mechanisms may improve access to healthcare in the country, Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) said in a paper titled ‘Healthcare Financing’

The Centre is already seeking to overhaul the health system with an aim to advance universal health coverage and focus on social indicators of healthcare, it added.

“India’s healthcare infrastructure is among the poorest in the world and has remained stagnant for many years. Moreover, private health insurance is low, at 5 percent of the total population.

“An additional 12 percent (population) have some cover under government schemes. Most healthcare costs are still borne by patients, as out—of—pocket expenses. Clearly, effective financing mechanisms are a critical requirement for improving access to healthcare,” it said.

“Investment in healthcare will contribute to economic development, through improved productivity, capital accumulation and reduced treatment burden,” OPPI President, and Managing Director, India & Vice President, South Asia, Sanofi India Shailesh Ayyangar said at the fourth Healthcare Access Summit here, hosted by OPPI.

Ranjana Smetacek, Director General, OPPI said “after decades of low public spending on healthcare, Government must now accord priority to this sector. A meaningful budget allocation will enable a healthcare model that delivers healthcare access for all.”

“We also need sustainable policy solutions to support healthcare financing, infrastructure and human resource challenges,” he added.

The pharmaceutical industry also making a pitch to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to subsidise health insurance with a view to make it universal.