India to Provide Free Generic Medicines to its People

India’s public doctors will soon be able to prescribe free generic medicines, vastly expanding access to medicine in a country where public spending on health was just $4.50 per person last year. The plan was adopted last year. Initial funding has been allocated in recent weeks, officials said. The initiative may overhaul a system where healthcare is often a luxury and private clinics account for four times as much spending as state hospitals, despite 40 percent of the people living below the poverty line, or $1.25 a day or less. Within five years, up to half of India’s 1.2 billion people are likely to take advantage of the scheme, the government says. Others are likely to continue visiting private hospitals and clinics, where the scheme will not operate. Under the plan, doctors will be limited to a generics-only drug list and face punishment for prescribing branded medicines, a major disadvantage for pharmaceutical giants in one of the world’s fastest-growing drug markets.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/04/us-india-drugs-idUSBRE8630PW20120704