To put India on the path to universal healthcare (UHC), the Indian government announced that it would triple its spending in the health sector in the 12th Five Year Plan from an average 0.9 per cent of GDP to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2017. This includes a $5.4 billion plan spanning five years to distribute medicines free of cost to its citizens. The key unanswered question is: who will deliver this largesse to the people? Continue reading “Guest column : Why India needs the private sector to achieve universal healthcare”
I’d like to introduce a guest column by Salil Kallianpur, a healthcare marketing professional with experience in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. Salil is an avid reader and follower of healthcare current affairs, its politics, and strategies. He comments on the intersection of healthcare and life on his blog My Pharma Reviews. He is based in Mumbai. The views in this article are his own and not those of his employer, a pharmaceutical organisation.
The price of medicines has always been a matter of animated, even acrimonious, debate. Most of the time, activists assume that the only way to solve social challenges is through government and charity and that the only purpose of business and investing is to make money. Responsible sections of the pharmaceutical industry reject that worldview. Consider this.
Swiss drug maker Roche reduced the price of its blood cancer drug Mabthera by 50% in South Africa. Sanofi slashed prices on its diabetes drug Lantus and its cancer treatment Taxotere in the Asia-Pacific region. Eisai cut prices of its Alzheimer’s drug Aricept in 6 Asian countries and GSK cut prices on “essential” drugs by 40% to 50% in Kenya.
These recent Big Pharma attempts at tiered pricing in the developing world signal a deviation from the age-old strategy of recovering research costs through high prices.