NEW DELHI: The Centre, on the occasion of World Cancer Day on Tuesday, urged big hospitals offering cancer treatment to open Jan Aushadhi stores and asked oncologists to prescribe generic drugs.
P D Vaghela, secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, said that under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana, stores supply nearly 6,000 types of generic drugs, including 38 types of anti-cancer drugs, at a price that is 50 to 80 per cent lesser than branded drugs in the market. There are nearly 5,500 hundred such stores in the country at present.
“Health expenditure in India is Rs 2,500 per capita, 50 per cent of which is spent for medicine. Health expenditure is one of the biggest causes why a large number of families get pushed below the poverty line every year and the middle-class is particularly vulnerable,” he said at the first Cancer Summit organised by the Integrated Health & Wellbeing Council.
“Generic medicines are as good as branded medicines. In fact, the sampling success of generic medicines is higher than the branded ones,” he added.
Vaghela also said that through the trade margin rationalisation approach, the government has made 42 cancer drugs more affordable to patients.
For instance, cancer drugs that were earlier sold for Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,400 are now available for Rs 892 and Rs 2,510, respectively.
The promise and push for cancer drugs from the government comes as a WHO cancer report for the year 2018, released on Monday, said that there are an estimated 1.16 million new cancer cases, 7,84,800 cancer deaths, and 2.26 million 5-year prevalent cases in India’s population of 1.35 billion.
The five most frequent cancers in men and women in India are that of breast, cervix, oral cavity, lung and colorectal. Together, they cause a maximum number of deaths after cardiovascular diseases.
In another event, Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said there was a need to establish tissue banks to make treatment of cancer accessible to more people.
The Modi government has taken up the “mission of curbing the dreaded disease from the roots on priority”, the minister said.
“We also need to establish cancer tissue banks to make treatment accessible to more people,” said the junior health minister.
One in 10 Indians will develop cancer during lifetime: WHO
Reports released by WHO and its specialised International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
also said that while one in 10 Indians will develop the disease in their lifetime, one in 15 will die of cancer