NCDs cost India equivalent to 12.5% of its GDP, says US-based study

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

India, world’s largest generic medicines exporter, still lacks assured free access to good quality generic medicines and the support is needed to use them to best effect for large section of its population, says a study by US-based pharmacy school.

The report by UCL School of Pharmacy entitled ‘Health and Health Care in India: national opportunities, global impacts’, said the unmet need for medicines is particularly highly in the context of preventing and treating the growing burden of heart problems, strokes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes.

The report estimated that NCDs already cost India the equivalent of 12.5 per cent of the nation’s GDP in lost welfare terms. A similar (though falling) burden is still imposed by infections and events such as traffic accidents and violent deaths in groups such as relatively young women, said its co-author Professor David Taylor at a round-table here on Tuesday.

“India currently spends only a little over one per cent of its GDP on publicly funded health care, and only about 0.1 per cent of GDP on publicly funded medicines for the Indian people. These are very low figures, even by the standards of the world’s least developed countries. It would be tragic if plans for extending universal health coverage and increasing the supply of free generic medicines for those who lack the resources to purchase even minimal cost modern treatments for common conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are not taken forward as an urgent priority,” he said.

Source: Pharmabiz (link opens in a new window)

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