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Need for a comprehensive approach

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Providing healthcare access to all can be made possible only through as integrated policy framework with effective public policy. Vivek V Kamath, MD, MSD in India, gives an insight

The Indian pharmaceutical sector has come a long way and is currently undergoing unprecedented change, with being the third largest in terms of volume and thirteenth largest in terms of value. Over the years, the Indian healthcare industry has made commendable progress in terms of introducing advanced healthcare technology and facilities in the region.

With being the largest provider of generic drugs globally with the Indian generics accounting for 20 per cent of global exports in terms of volume. Both private and public players have played an instrumental role in fostering the incorporation of innovations that have led to improvements in healthcare delivery. Of late, consolidation has become an important characteristic of the Indian pharma market as the industry is highly fragmented.

The industry today is in the forefront of India’s science-based industries, with wide ranging capabilities in the complex field of drug manufacturing and technology. It ranks very high in the third world in terms of technology, quality and range of medicines manufactured. With the prime motto of pharma industry being to serve the society, with the increasing number of ailments and complex lifestyles, health issues attack individuals, this problem can be brought under control only with a comprehensive approach where we all play a very important role.

At present, the Indian pharma sector accounts for about 2.4 per cent in value terms and 10 per cent in volume terms globally. Collaborative, transparent and holistic approach, fostering an environment of innovation and consistent government investments and public private partnerships holds the key to change. Utilising the power of information technology and communication networks will be the biggest enabler of this change.

Nonetheless, the Indian healthcare system is still grappling with issues such as raising the quality of the services offered and ensuring equitable access to health facilities for all across both urban and rural India. There is a need to gear up for tackling the changing disease incidence as well. These issues can be addressed through joint efforts and consensus of both sectors in pursuing a suitable mechanism that facilitates investments in health programmes and projects that ensure increased healthcare access to people.

Therefore, it is extremely crucial to work towards fostering public and private collaboration to yield the desired outcomes. The government is making an instrumental move in this regard, with Union Health Ministry and Niti Aayog recently announcing a PPP model pact for the management of NCDs in Tier II and III cities across the length and breadth of India. Backed by the World Bank as a technical partner, this initiative is expected to help boost up healthcare delivery in the country.

Under this initiative, private hospitals are to provide secondary and tertiary medical treatment for cancer, heart diseases and respiratory tract ailments at subsidised rates that are not higher than those prescribed under the government health insurance schemes.

Hospitals catering to the needs of these diseases need to have out-patient departments, in-patient beds, beds for intensive care, operation theatres, angioplasty and angiography facilities, laboratories, and radiology services. Primary and secondary healthcare play a crucial role in delivering inclusive healthcare as it provides greater access and early management of health issues. Upgradation of both the systems will help reduce the out of pocket burden on the patients.

Providing healthcare access to all can be made possible only through as integrated policy framework with effective public policy. This will determine the manner in which healthcare resources and funds are generated, allocated and utilised and how healthcare services of a country are developed, distributed and accessed.

With a shift in epidemiology indicators and burgeoning rise of NCDs, there lies huge scope and opportunity on the entire healthcare continuum for the public and private sectors to partner in areas of preventive measures, healthcare awareness and education, strengthening of infrastructure including human resources, early diagnosis and management, and integration of innovative methods with the primary healthcare systems

As expanding healthcare access is a critical priority in India, we have to look at innovative solutions including:

  • quality and innovative pharmaceuticals
  • smart healthcare technologies
  • streamlined processes
  • capacity building and
  • healthcare systems strengthening through collaborative approaches

Building public private partnerships (PPP) models to promote investments, medical education and training, preventive healthcare and innovation through technology and partnerships is the need of the hour. This will bring in synergies of collaborating entities from their own spaces of core competencies and experience of health systems management. Most importantly, disruptive PPP and business models backed by technological expertise have a great potential to deliver cost-effective solutions the larger population.

Although PPP model promises to enhance healthcare delivery in the country, India’s past inconsistent track record of PPP in healthcare, raises several concerns. Hence, utmost care must be taken while framing policies to ensure that the funds allotted for the upgradation of healthcare facilities is invested in the right direction. It is important to devise an independent mechanism which monitors and aligns healthcare providers, insurers and the patients together.

With a strong focus on diabetes care, the company has devised strategies and programmes to help prevent cervical cancer and pneumococcal diseases. In the adult immunisation space, pneumococcal disease remains a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality amongst the adult population for which Pneumovax 23 vaccine has been developed to address the increased risk for pneumococcal disease in adults.

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