Issue Date: March 27, 2017
Free medications are part India’s pending new health policy
India’s new National Health Policy, unveiled earlier this month, calls for free medicines in some situations and aims to provide quality, affordable health care to all its people. Indian Health Minister J. P. Nadda says the policy proposes free drugs, free diagnostics, and free emergency care services in all public hospitals. The new policy calls for most drugs for the elderly and those with chronic conditions to be free or subsidized. The proposal, which would replace a policy put in place 15 years ago, stresses preventive health care. It includes a commitment to eliminate certain diseases and aims to extend Indian’s life expectancy at birth from the current 67.5 years to 70 years by 2025. The policy calls for an increase in public health spending to 2.5% of the gross domestic product from the current 1.4%. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet approved the plan on March 16.
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