A hospital a town, keeps away the frown!

The Union Budget 2008 is out and a silent celebration is on in almost every board room… (and drawing rooms too!)

Without a doubt, it’s a budget that will better everyone else’s budget. Be it a corporate giant, a small or medium business, a service holder or a pensioner.. there are reasons for everybody to smile. (I can see those glittering teeth!)

Healthcare in particular, finally got its booster budget. With a five year tax holiday granted for new hospitals in tier II and III cities, private players might now find it feasible to go beyond metros. Amidst the shower of appreciation bestowed on the government for this ‘path-breaking’ step to take   quality healthcare beyond high-flying cities, there remains a simple question.

Exactly what took them so long (sixty years to be precise) to think of this simple thing?

Or is it that they have almost made it a practice to learn simple solutions to complex problems only  the hard way! Wonder if one can find a simple answer to this simple question. Is it that the Goverment thought people in tier II and III cities could not have afforded private healthcare till now? Is it that they thought people in those cities should have a reasonable excuse to visit metros? Or is it that they finally gave up, and just gave in? I leave it to all of you to ponder on it and let us know.

Following closely at the heels of our hitherto sloppy healthcare system is another burning issue that we have fought for long – the unregulated medical devices market in India. However, finally there seems to be some ray of hope at the end of the tunnel…

The Government is contemplating to set up a Medical Devices Regulatory Authority of India or MDRA in short. The draft Medical Device Regulation Bill 2006, drawn up by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, is currently in circulation and it forms the basis for the proposed MDRA, expected to be established by December 31, 2009. There are mixed reactions from different corners of the industry, and for sure, the post-regulation era will have varying effects on different market players. Whatever it is, the end-objective needs to be met – ‘interest of patients should be safeguarded and maximum benefit should accrue ‘only’ to them.’ (Apologies for heartburn, if any!)

Get a low down on this and know what’s on the anvil in the cover story of this issue.

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