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11 December, 2014
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Date: 11 December, 2014

Date- 11-12 December 2014
Location- A. N. Sinha institute, Patna

To mark the essentiality of the availability of free medicines for the well being of the masses, the Jan Sawasthya Abhiyan, Bihar, with the support of Save the Children, Oxfam India and other like minded organizations organized a Two day convention on “Free Medicines for All”. It was organized at the A. N. Sinha institute, Patna on 11th & 12th December 2014. Experts, medical practitioners, civil society organization representatives, media representatives, people’s network and community members of the state and other parts of the country participated in the convention.

Shri Ramdhani Singh, Health Minister, Bihar, shared that until and unless monopoly and malpractices of private companies is not checked, it would be impossible to ensure a healthy life to the common citizens. He highlighted the fact that same medicines are being sold for Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 10 thousand. He promised, if the prevalent monopoly of the companies is curbed off, the Government would seriously think to provide free medicines to all in an effective manner.

Dr. Amit Sen Gupta, National Convenor, JSA, opined that health is ultimately a government responsibility. The government can provide free essential medicines to the last needy person. He highlighted, due to the unavailability of free medicines and complete health services, around 6 crore people every year slip into the BPL category. Today, unfortunately unnecessary medicines are pushed by companies and availability of essential medicines is lacking.

Dr. Shakeel, Convenor, JSA Bihar, raised the fact that health doesn’t remain an issue for the government. In India, out of Rs. 100, around Rs. 66 solely goes to purchase the medicines, the rest is spent on treatment. There is an urgent need for a coordinated effort to stop this ‘out of pocket expense’ which covertly pushes the masses into the trap of poverty.

Shri Pravind Kumar Praveen, Regional Manager, Oxfam India, advocated that free medicines is essential for the well being of the masses. Recently in a signature campaign of Oxfam India, 40 thousand people shared their consent with this demand.

Mr. Bipin Kumar, ACC Coordinator, Save the Children, pointed that they believe that their pursuance on child survival and health is closely linked with the availability of free medicines that is why Save the Children will keep advocating for this demand in alliance with network, like JSA.

Dr. M.K. Tripathi from Rajasthan shared the success story of the Rajasthan Government’s Free Drug Distribution Scheme and Free Diagnostic Scheme under which universal availability of free medicines and diagnostic services are ensured.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, Gen. Sec., BHSA, reiterated the need for promotion of generic medicines with market oriented approach, so that the masses can benefit from these low cost medicines.

Dr. PNP Pal, Charmian, CHARM, pointed that in India only Rs. 600 per head is spent by the government on health issues.

Rupesh, Right to Food, Bihar, concluded the session with the vote of thanks.