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Healthcare policy: Clock is ticking for Indian healthcare

2 8 18

Bejon Kumar Misra

The government has finally put healthcare front and centre, with a bold set of policy and regulatory activities. It has realised that a strong intervention on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is the only solution to tackle poverty and improve the quality of life of our citizens. It includes calls for substantially increased health expenditure as a percentage of GDP, UHC and quality healthcare available to all. The Ayushman Bharat, announced in this year’s Union Budget, promises an insurance benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family, per year, for 40% of our population, apart from other benefits. It is perhaps the greatest example in recent times to prove that the government is serious with healthcare, and its subsequent uplifting. The National Health Policy 2017 (NHP) envisages the private sector as a strategic partner in meeting these goals.

The global medical technology industry applauds this effort and is more than willing to do its part. However, the government has mandated a series of price cuts on life-saving and life-improving medical devices, such as cardiac stents and orthopaedic implants. This has dealt a serious blow to private sector players who have invested heavily in innovation and establishing an Indian patient-centric presence; for them, this move seems unviable because of several valid reasons.

While the government’s intent to expand patient access to the best available healthcare is commendable and paramount, intent alone isn’t enough to ensure a good outcome. To advance the benefits of medical technology, we must have the right public policies to support investment, innovation and patient access. Today, the government is at a crossroads, and........

© The Financial Express