Schemes Targeting Healthcare Affordability in India
- Public health in India remains a matter of grave concern, both in terms of public expenditures on healthcare as well as the quality and effectiveness of healthcare available through public and private health service providers.
- Publicly funded health insurance is a model which has been tried in various parts of the world with mixed results. The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana is India’s version of such a model, where the state insures a certain target population against a set of ailments.
- The problem is particularly acute in India, where almost 86% of all expenditure on health services is “out-of-pocket”, as opposed to 7% in the US.
- The results of the RSBY have however been disappointing for the most part, as lack of awareness, non-universalization and provider-induced demand remain major challenges.
- The new Union government has therefore proposed a restructuring of the programme to make it more effective.
- Drug pricing is an issue linked closely to public health in a developing country like India.
- The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is responsible for regulating the prices of certain essential drugs which form part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).
- Recent developments in the drug price control regime have invited strong reactions from various stakeholders. This brief captures these perspectives in greater detail.