Though health care is one of the priority sectors among the nine pillars earmarked by the Central Government, the ailing sector nation-wide in general and in Jammu and Kashmir in particular is pathetic. The allurement of commission on prescription has been the biggest hurdle for the proposed affordable medicines out of Jan Aushadhi. Till date Jammu and Kashmir has two outlets in Jammu and Srinagar to provide generic medicines by cutting profit margins to general public and otherwise the much acclaimed scheme in the State has remained a non-starter compared to the planned 3,000 outlets. On the contrary the ‘doctor-chemist’ nexus cultivated by the big pharmaceutical companies has become much strong and prosperous. The mush-room growth of chemist outlets and doctors clinic along with it is an open indicator of this growing nexus. Under such circumstances how is it possible to provide better healthcare for common man? Even last year’s Union Budget had proposed a National Dialysis Programme to be rolled through private-public participation or popularly known as PPP mode to make medical treatment more accessible to the people. The programme also allows duty-free import of dialysis equipment which could lower treatment cost. Over two lakh renal patients are added every year in the country and the distribution of the health facilities are skewed. The proposed mission envisages to provide affordable and reachable dialysis facilities up to district hospital level. Given the state of health care facilities and services in J and K the future of such a proposal can be explained in one word pathetic. Despite all the praise for the health services, poor are left at the mercy of private doctors or government doctor’s private practice and now with the dialysis facilities coming to district-level one can imagine the state of affairs. But there is no doubt that the proposed benefits are not going to reach the target group-the Janata for whom the affordable and reachable medical treatment would always remain a far-off dream as long as doctor-chemist-pharma company nexus remains.
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© 2016 State Times Daily Newspaper