June 2008

Universalising healthcare through telemedicine

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Though the Indian pharmaceuticals industry began expanding in the 1980s, only about 33% of the Indian population has access to modern medicine.1 Also, accurate estimates are hard to come by, but studies indicate that 50 to 80% of Indians do not have access to all the medicines they require.2 One  reason for this in rural areas is the absence of qualified doctors and medical stores. Only 38% of our primary health centres (PHCs) have all the required medical personnel. In smaller towns and villages, patients are often at the mercy of unqualified Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs).

A recent report by the Planning Commission stated that essential therapeutic drugs are not supplied in most public health institutions with the exception of some states and adds that an essential component of strengthening primary health facilities will be a system of guaranteeing essential care.” Pharmaceutical companies' expansion into rural India could have a significant impact on the availability of drugs. The pharma industry has come up with a novel plan of penetrating the rural market

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