Tue, Oct 23, 2012 - Page 10 News List

India to give free generic drugs to hundreds of millions

Members of the French non-governmental organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) (Doctors Without Borders) hold placards, reading in French “Life Before Profits” in India on Sept. 19.

Photo: AFP

India has put in place a US$5.4 billion (NT$157.6 billion) policy to provide free medicine to its people.

From city hospitals to tiny rural clinics, India’s public doctors will soon be able to prescribe free generic drugs to all comers, vastly expanding access to medicine in a country where public spending on health was just US$4.50 per person last year.

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.

“Without a doubt, it is a considerable blow to an already beleaguered industry, “ said KPMG partner Chris Stirling.

But the initiative would overhaul a system where healthcare is often a luxury, despite 40 percent of the people living below the poverty line, or US$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.










1. put in place v. phr.

實施 (shi2 shi1)

例: The government will put in place special measures to control the spread of the deadly disease.


2. generic drug n. phr.

學名藥 (xue2 ming2 yao4)

例: Generic drugs are usually sold for significantly lower prices than their branded equivalents.


3. overhaul v.

全面改革 (quan2 mian4 gai3 ge2)

例: The old system of education should be overhauled.


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