India is proposing an ambitious plan to substantially raise spending on providing free drugs for India’s 1.2 billion population. But there are doubts over the plan’s implementation. India wants to spend up to 300 billion rupees ($5.4 billion), or 0.5% of gross domestic product, on procuring drugs to be distributed through governmentrun hospitals and clinics by 2017. Currently, India spends about 60 billion rupees ($1.1 billion), or 0.1% of GDP.
Most government hospitals in India are overcrowded, understaffed and lack medicines and supplies. “Significant shortages in the number of doctors, nurses, paramedics and hospital beds per 1,000 population in India pose a great challenge for speedier
implementation of universal healthcare in the country,” said Tapan Ray, director general of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India, or OPPI, a lobby group for Pharma MNCs in India.