COVER STORY/GEOPOL­I­TICS

Down to Earth - - Pandemic - Mint. PHARMA POL­LU­TION

same should only have a mi­nor im­pact on gross mar­gins dur­ing the quar­ter,” bro­ker­age firm Nir­mal Bang says.

Pri­vate man­u­fac­tur­ers have not been keen to pro­vide medicines that are un­der price cap. They say it does not help as the poor are still not able to af­ford them. “The problem is that In­dia spends too lit­tle on health­care,” writes Amir Ul­lah Khan, pro­fes­sor of eco­nomic pol­icy at the In­dian School of Busi­ness and the Nal­sar Univer­sity of Law, in the na­tional daily

In­stead of price con­trol, he sug­gests that op­tions like trade mar­gin ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion, cen­tralised pro­cure­ment, so­cial health in­sur­ance schemes, cross sub­sidi­s­a­tion and state fi­nanc­ing of es­sen­tial drugs should be used.

In­dia has to keep the drug costs low. Its pub­lic spend­ing on health is very low. It is un­likely that the coun­try would be able to pro­cure much if it buys at the pri­vate sec­tor prices. Pub­lic sec­tor phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal companies, there­fore, be­come rel­e­vant as they can pro­vide drugs at the cost price even af­ter in­clud­ing the cost of pol­lu­tion con­trol.

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